On the subject of booze prices

Another little observation about booze prices from your travelling correspondent.

In Usti nad Labem, in the posh pub that all the good looking birds go to, a 0.5 litre Pilsener Urquel is 35 Crowns. OK, Usti is a bit regional and all that. A bottle of same in the supermarket is 20 crowns or so. Mental arithmetic is 30 crowns to the £, 20 to the $, 25 to the €.

A relaxing few pints after crawling over the \’ore mountains all day is therefore an entirely affordable thing.

Don\’t really know Prague prices, I\’ve a memory though of being charged 50 crowns in the Old Town. In a tourist gaff where everyone speaks English.

Pub at the airport, after security, wanted 145 crowns per 0.4 litre. Yes, I know, the airport charges vast rents \’coz monopoly. But I\’ve never seen a group of Czechs drinking quite so slowly….


6 thoughts on “On the subject of booze prices”

  1. after crawling over the ‘ore mountains all day

    I think there’s a website that caters to that with photoshop.

  2. I haven’t been to Prague recently, but in Krakow you typically pay 7 or 8 zloty in a nice place in the centre of town, going up to about 10 zloty in places full of tourists. Regular pubs outside the centre of town (although it doesn’t have to be far out of the centre of town) charge 4 or 5 zloty. A convenience store charges about 3 zloty. A supermarket no doubt less. (There are just over 5 zloty to the pound). I would guess Prague is similar to Krakow in that you really don’t have to go far off the beaten track to find the same prices you were paying in Usti nad Labem.

    Funnily enough, though, all the duty free stores in Krakow airport sell single bottles and cans of beer, chilled and ready to go, for about 5 zloty. Some even have signs encouraging you to buy extra to drink on the plane, even though the airlines officially don’t allow it.

  3. “even though the airlines officially don’t allow it”

    Anyone remember BA’s cheap airline, Go? I took a whole case of wine (OK, a 6-bottle cardboard case) onto one of their flights. Think we had a bottle left to get us through baggage reclaim.

  4. What’s surprising is how little regional variation you find in the UK. You can easily find a £2.50 pint in central London, although obviously it’ll be a slightly rough-and-ready pub. Head out to e.g. Crewe and you’ll still pay at least £2 a pint. Is the minimum wage too high in the regions? Or has regulation and the smoking ban simply killed off cheap pubs?

  5. Andrew: per my comment on the other thread, there’s an 85p/pint-ish (duty+VAT) floor imposed by excise duty. That creates a floor of, let’s say, gbp1.20 (35p/pint wholesale-to-cellar-door excluding duty is envelope-correct).

    So your skankiest northern dive has 80p a pint to cover all overheads, while your skankiest London dive has gbp1.30 – significant difference.

    The pubs in London that sell for gbp2.50 are either Sam Smiths, and hence have a completely artificial cost structure (because they’re owned freehold by a privately held company, and therefore neither pay not impute market rents – you’d make more money converting every Smiths pub south of Watford into a trendy bar, but the Smith family don’t want to do that), or Wetherspoon volume-sheds which rely on vast turnover to make sure that gbp1.30 covers the rent as much as everything else.

    Minimum wage isn’t so relevant – Wetherspoons pay above – but also important is the much greater supply of casual labour in London among people who are suited to and willing to do bar work. Anecdotally, the Eastern Europeans who currently dominate London front-of-house service work are willing to do it for less than the Antipodeans who used to.

  6. My recent experience is that £2.50 is relatively hard to find in central London (= City + Westminster, say). Even the Wetherspoons and Smiths outlets are closer to £3 than £2 for their cheapest pints now. Anywhere outside zone 1 and £2.50 or even £2 pints are doable enough. The average price is still a good deal higher than this, though, and I think the difference in average price between London and central Cumbria is quite significant. The floor price may be similar, but the average overheads vary a lot.

    (Back to that Polish example, then yes, there are places in central Krakow that do 4 zloty beers, too, but they are the local Wetherspoons equivalents – ie very high volume places).

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