Soft drinks in pubs

  WhiteTruckMan 17:45 25 Mar 2007

Went out for a meal this afternoon. It was mother in laws birthday so we went to somewhere
she had seen in passing previously and decided she would like to go in. I'm not going to name
the pub chain but it was one of those instant imitation country pubs with imitation beams and brasses that sell imitation beer in plastic glasses that do a lot of food. Its not the kind of place I would choose but all I had to do was pay for everything. Choice was not one of my perks. Anyway, meal for six, not cheap but what the hay. But drinks? Through a combination of drivers, ages and medications we were all teetotal for the meal. A few bottled fruit based drinks (decidedly not cheap) and 3 cokes. well the cokes came in what looked like slightly oversized water tumblers. They were the same as the bottled drinks and the same level too so it looked like about 375ml. They were the type of drinks from a bar mixer, not the expensive bottled or canned variety. I asked them to please fill the glasses up as we didnt want ice, only to be told they couldnt do that as it was a metered amount. And the price for this? £1.85 ! ! ! And they think this is the norm! Needless to say I didnt buy any thing else from there. And I never will again. But this seems to be normal behaviour in pubs these days. I've mentioned it in passing in other threads but today has once again smacked me in the face with these outrageous prices. How many times do we see stories in the media about alcohol related incidents, be it binge drinking in the young, an increasing alcohol problem with young women (the so-called 'laddettes'), violence in town centres on saturday nights, public urination, well the list just writes itself, doesnt it? And just how much of a part does the licensed trade play in this with their greed. After all, a pint of soft drink from a dispenser costs probably around 4p, but will sell directly for up to 3-4 pounds per pint, virtually all profit. Anyone care to put foreward a figure for the profit margin on a pint of beer? or a spirit?

This isnt about making a profit. Or even market forces deciding a price. Its become a public order issue, to the point that in places its illegal to have an open alcoholic drink in your hand.

When someone goes out they should be able to have a practical alternative to an alcoholic drink. Especially if they are in a group. Some might say that no-one is forcing them to drink. Yeah, right. The next time you go out in a group, try being the only one sat there with no drink. See how popular and included you feel. Have a soft drink? Of course! but thats going to empy your wallet about twice as fast as your mates, who are enjoying getting bladdered at about half the cost or less of you staying sober.

People have made much of the overpricing (percieved or otherwise) of goods in other threads, but this seems so ingrained in our drinking culture that no one gives it a second glance. The attitude seems to be that pubs are there to sell beer. Anything else takes away space from selling beer, so its going to cost. Maybe, but so much? And I'm not just talking in monetary terms. I don't really know what the answer is though. Boycotting (a contentious word borrowed from another thread) wouldnt do any good. Falling sales would result in either rising prices or withdrawal of the product. Maybe I should start a petition on the PM's website, just like the vista one.

What do you think?

(rant over)


  georgemac © 17:49 25 Mar 2007

You have a good point.

We are about to have a nice meal at home and if I want a soft drink can have 2 litres of the real stuff for about £1.30

  Sic 17:53 25 Mar 2007

When i was about 20 i used to manage a bar as well as being a student. The profit off post mix was so high it carried some of the beers.

Soft drinks are the cash cow of pubs, if you want to slash the price to what it costs the business plus a reasonable profit, all other drinks would have to go up to compensate.

  spuds 18:28 25 Mar 2007

At least one or two of the pubs in my area provide 'free' soft drinks to 'designated' car driver's, if they have sufficient fare paying guests.

Then there's the other thing, asking for a half pint of shandy, then getting a glass three quarters full of lemonade, a quarter full of beer or lager, then being charged the same price as a pint of beer or lager.

And as for restaurant's. Going out on a Saturday evening for a good meal seems no longer possibly. How can they divide a 2lb sea bass between 10 or 20 people. My local chippy would be ashamed to serve such small portions.

  bennyhillslovechild 18:34 25 Mar 2007

As Sic says there, it's swings and roundabouts when it comes to the pricing (and profit) of drinks in bars. Having spent 10 years in the trade, I agree that soft drinks are priced unnaturally high (particularly the post-mix). We used to try to work at 62%GP across the board for beers and spirits - this was impossible on certain drinks (like Guinness) unless you wanted an impractically high price per pint so other drinks, like soft drinks, would help to bring up the average.
£1.85 is a bit extreme however; when I left the trade about 18 months ago, we were charging £1.35 for a 16oz glass of cola (and i felt that was high) - and we were a Freehouse, so we didn't have the buying power of some of the bigger chains or the JDW's of this world.
We used to do soft drink promotions to try and bring the price down, and at Christmas we would throw in the soft drinks for the "des" or designated driver of a group or party.

I don't think a petition would have a huge effect. It's mainly only the post-mix that is a highly inflated price, the bottled soft drinks be it the baby juices/mixers or the J20's of this world, are not especially cheap to buy in the first place.

  Bingalau 19:08 25 Mar 2007

When I first left the services I managed a large public house for twelve years. The first couple of weeks I was there I used to put soda syphons on the counter for customers to help themselves. I also supplied other soft drinks such as lemonade free within reason. Habits from Sgts' Mess life I guess. Anyway when the brewery found out I was immediately put in the picture about how much to charge. It made me ashamed and angry but as I was a manager and not a tenant I had to do as I was told. Since then these excessive charges have gone through the roof. The couple of clubs I attend now are not too bad and if I am driving I can take my own flask of coffee in to drink because they don't sell it. One club even allows me to bring in my own Ginger Beer to go with the rum I buy when I am not driving. Probably because the amount of rum I buy from them keeps the club afloat... (only joking "Honest").

  bennyhillslovechild 19:14 25 Mar 2007

Bingalau - Ginger Beer and Rum? Now THAT sounds like a drink! I may well have to try that, I've got a few bottles of Fentiman's ginger beer sitting in the fridge...hmmm - I'm tempted now, but which rum? Cpt Morgan, Lambs, Woods or Pussers? My local offie sells em all......

  laurie53 19:29 25 Mar 2007

You must not ruin either Pusser's or Fentiman's by mixing them!

What sacrilege!


  bennyhillslovechild 19:32 25 Mar 2007

Laurie53 - Duly noted! Fentiman's is damn good Ginger Beer, but I do find it goes well with a drop of ice cold Stolichnaya :)

  Bingalau 19:53 25 Mar 2007

bennyhillslovechild. I've been drinking the drink for yonks now. I believe the name for it is "Dark and Stormy" probably because of its appearance. Take my word it is the ideal drink on a cold Winter's day, you can feel it warming the cockles of your heart. It also happens to be an ideal drink on a warm Summer's day too. Nice tall glass with plenty of ice.... It matters not which type of rum you drink it with. Demarera or Jamaican, I use whatever is handy. I love "Pussers" and I love "Woods". But even the cheapo rums from the supermarkets go well with ginger beer. Fentiman's is ideal of course and so is Jamaican Ginger Beer at £1.99 for six cans in most Supermarkets. Let me know how it goes when you get used to it. (For anyone else thinking of trying it, make sure you use Ginger Beer and not Ginger Ale).

  Jak_1 20:16 25 Mar 2007

tsk tsk! adulterating rum, shame on you. The only thing that should be put into rum is another rum, lol.

The breweries will argue that they have to charge what they do for soft drinks because of the overheads! However a pint of orange squash is about the same as a pint of beer and some soft drinks work out more expensive than beer!

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

OnePlus 5 review

Alice Saey's mesmerising animation for Dutch singer Mark Lotterman

iPad Pro 10.5in (2017) review

Comment booster votre iPhone ?