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Guinness to hit three quid a pint

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The RRP of a pint of Guinness will rise by 10p to £3.03 on 1 February, producer Diageo has announced.

In further grim tidings for drinkers, brewer AB InBev - which counts Beck's, Budweiser, Staropramen and Stella Artois on its roster of brews - "will increase the wholesale price of all its drinks products by an average of 4p a pint" on the same date.

Stuart MacFarlane, president of AB InBev UK, told The Publican: "In keeping with standard industry practice we review our pricing at the start of each year.

"Within the context of continuing difficult market conditions and a challenging economic climate, AB InBev UK will be applying a price increase equivalent to an average of 4p a pint to the wholesale price of beer with effect from 1st February 2010."

The same day will see Heineken UK hike beer and cider by 4p and 5p, respectively, while Carlsberg and Molson Coors "have yet to reveal details of any price increases".

The news comes as the government's health committee has suggested a minimum alcohol retail price of 50p per unit - an attempt to stop supermarkets punting cheap booze and fuelling the UK's binge-drinking epidemic.

This minimum would, the report suggests, save 3,000 lives a year while helping to boost the UK's pub trade.

Tony Brookes, managing director of North East-based pub company Head of Steam, enthused to The Publican: “This is good news. I totally believe in minimum pricing. Without doubt it is the supermarkets causing the binge-drinking problems and they need their knuckles wrapped.” [sic]

However, the report also notes that three-quarters of the industry's sales depend on “hazardous and harmful” drinkers. If people could be persuaded to "drink responsibly", pub sales would crash by 40 per cent, it concludes. ®

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