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    Monday, 20 October 2008

    Marking Up The Third Pint Price

    I'm all for offering third pints measures at pubs and beer festivals as I've mentioned on more than one occasion. I don't always choose to drink nips, but it's nice to have the option.

    What I do expect though, is that the price of a third is roughly 33.3% of that of a pint. I accept rounding, so a pint at £2.60 translates to a third at 90 pence.

    I was at the Oxford Beer Festival on Saturday, and was struck by the mark up in prices of thirds. A £2.60 pint was being sold not at 90p but £1. That's 40 pence more for three thirds than for a pint. A half pint was the expected £1.30, so why the discrepancy?

    There's surely no additional overheads in pouring three thirds that warrants this extra charge. A publican may argue with me that's there's three times the washing up, but that's not the case at a festival.

    I'm not sure if festivals are autonomous of CAMRA, but I can't imagine this is national policy. And if it is I'd really like to know how it is justified.

    12 comments:

    Paul Garrard said...

    This is going to sound as though I have more money than sense but I never studied the price too carefully at the Ipswich BF where I mainly drank 1/3rds, although I don't remember paying much more that 80p 0r 90p.

    Tandleman said...

    When you say thirds, do you mean in a lined glass, pint or half? If so I'd guess it might be a hedge against inevitable over measure. It is a guess though.

    Local festivals set prices to meet CAMRA budget expectations. Maybe it is to meet a tight budget requirement? It is probably true to say you sell beer less quickly when people drink smaller measures of it and again it may be a sort of surtax on that.

    Why didn't you ask?

    Tandleman said...

    I meant to add was it the same across all the beers?

    YCC - Dubbel said...

    This was a feature at the Greenwich Beer Festival earlier this summer. Except there was no third pint option but the halves were marked up to well over 50% the cost of a pint. I received a lot of disparaging comments from rightly disgruntled customers.

    If pubs don't readily rip off the third/half drinker, then CAMRA festivals certainly aren't expected to do so. It goes against the very purpose of attending a festival to sample as wide a variety of new beer as you can. And they've managed to provide halves at half the cost of a pint for years. Cut it out CAMRA!

    Tandleman said...

    Cut it out those pubs and beer festivals that do so. It isn't CAMRA policy!

    Jeff said...

    I don't like the idea that beer should be sold like petrol - exactly by volume - so don't necessarily agree with you. Other food and beverage products aren't.

    maeib said...

    Gosh this article has a snappy title, don't you think?

    Tandleman - I didn't ask why as I don't like to put volunteer staff in a difficult position (except those on the German bar at BSF). I was drinking halves anyway so it didn't effect me (selfish to a fault I am!). And yes, it was all beers.

    Dubbel - Yes it's not fair that they had a go at you. I wouldn't be comfortable working under those circumstances and would have told the festival organiser.

    Jeff - I know where you are coming from. a small tin of baked beans costs almost the same as a large tin for example. However it's custom and practice that a half costs half (or damned near) that of a pint, so doing it differently for a third doesn't sit well with me.

    zythophile said...

    Don't drink by halves in Ireland, they're ALWAYS marked up considerably on the price of a pint ...

    Anonymous said...

    I was at Oxford too and noticed this too late.

    I decided to go for thirds as there were so many new beers.

    Back home I sat down and worked out the average price and it was £1.50 a half, if I had been drinking halves it would have been £1.30.

    I expect a sort of "swings and roundabouts" rounding, not a loading on drinking thirds.

    Several of the beers were very good mind.

    haddonsman said...

    Money-grabbing bastards. I've no problem paying the rounded-up price for a sub-pint measure. But a 2.60 pint sold at a pound a third? That's sheer profiteering. 90p still gives you mark up. Sods.

    Was Oxford a cash bar?

    Interestingly, Steve Westby (Notts BF organiser) defended the lack of third pints at that fest saying that their 'one token = one beer' didn't accommodate thirds (but did handle extra 10/20p for stronger stuff) and "you need 50% more staff as each customer needs serving more often and we are desperately short of staff"

    Here's a thought; for 'token' festivals where under/extra is determined by ABV, do away with the single token and have a card marked in sixth pints. One pint = six dobs. One half = three dobs. One third = two dobs. Pay the extra in cash for strong stuff. Get tuppence ha'penny back for drinking shite mild.

    Can CAMRA staff cope with that?

    maeib said...

    Oxford was tokens. 10p per token so is the 'dob' sysyem Haddonsman advocates. The token system at Nottingham was a bit bonkers. Almost as bonkers as not having any foreign beer.

    haddonsman said...

    So Oxford were blatantly overcharging. Mail 'What's Brewing' and dig up a stink about it.