Price of a pint continues to rise – is home brew the answer?

Price of a pint continues to rise – is home brew the answer? | beer | News And Opinions

(Sponsored) Earlier this year, the price of some of the world’s most popular beers rose by more than four percent. It is a pattern that has been seen the world over, but nowhere more so than in the UK, where a pint of ale is as much a part of the national identity as cricket on the village green or fish and chips at the seaside.

For the beer-loving Brits it’s an all too familiar story. Over the past 40 years, the price of a pint has risen by an astonishing 2000 percent from 40p to around £4.00 for a pint. Of course, everything goes up over that length of time, but compare that with milk (600 percent), bread (1000 percent) and even diesel (1700 percent), and it becomes clear that beer drinkers are getting a raw deal.

Is home brew the solution?

These figures go some way to explaining the renaissance that home-brewed beer is enjoying at the moment. Once the domain of eccentric off-gridders and impoverished students, home brewing is becoming one of the most popular pastimes among UK drinkers.

Home brewing comes in various forms. The simplest consists of basic kits, whereby minimal equipment is needed – a container, some sanitizer, an airlock, tubing, a siphon and some bottles will set you back no more than the price of one night out at the pub. From thereon in, home brew from kits costs between £1 and £1.50 a pint.

However, the kits are only the beginning. The rise of the micro brewer in the UK and the wider world is an indicator that more serious brewing from raw ingredients is well within the reach of the amateur – and can even turn into a lucrative business. Of course, this demands a little more investment in terms of stills, boilers, tuns and the various fittings and solenoid valves that you can see at Nevertheless, you can still start small and with the right equipment the price per pint soon falls to somewhere between 30 and 50p per pint – in other words, it’s back down to 1970s prices.

Changing the face of Britain

Rising beer prices are a common phenomenon, and it seems certain that the home brewing craze will spread beyond the shores of the UK. Craft beers are also hugely popular across mainland Europe and are becoming an increasingly popular sight across the US and Australia.

Brewing your own beer certainly sounds like an elegant alternative for those who are tired of spending more and more money every year that is going directly into government coffers. However, in the UK, in particular, it is only a partial solution to the problem.

We said at the beginning that the pint is part of the culture, and that has more to do with how and where it is consumed than the beer itself. Pubs have been the centre of community life in villages and cities for centuries. Yet they are closing at a rate of 18 per week as people choose to stay at home. The British landscape will never be quite the same again.

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