! Murcia Today – Sobering production costs drive up beer prices in Region of Murcia
Murcian brewery Estrella de Levante has raised prices twice this year for the first time
A price storm could be brewing with the bar association of regional hotel and catering employers Hoytú warning that the price of a barrel of beer has already increased by 20% this year and currently costs between 125 and 130 euros .
A 30% increase in the cost of grain, as the country experiences a shortage due to the war in Ukraine, accompanied by soaring costs for fuel and the glass and aluminum used in packaging, means the brewery Murcian Estrella de Levante has been forced to raise beer prices twice this year for the first time in its history.
The company claims to have “worked hard” to make these increases, before and after the summer, as “discreet as possible”, but on average, the two increases have increased the base retail price by 8%.
And the situation is not exclusive to Murcia, as the main brewers in the country have had to raise their prices due to production costs.
Traditionally, in times of crisis, beer consumption increases, but this is not the case this year. In terms of sales, Estrella de Levante is currently five points behind its 2019 figures, before the pandemic, “a much worse situation than expected”.
Sales forecasts at the start of the year predicted a return to normal with the lifting of all Covid restrictions. However, according to Estrella de Levante, this has not worked due to the closure of 10% of bars and a “cautious” hotel and restaurant sector which is wary of large purchases due to the increased costs.
“Where a bar used to buy 12 barrels to try to sell them all, now they can buy eight, and this difference of one barrel here and one barrel there has had a negative impact on growth, which was not not what was expected,” said a spokesperson for Estrella de Levante who described the situation as a “stop in growth.”
The figures look much more favorable compared to 2020 and 2021, when 70% of bars, hotels and leisure venues were closed.
For the most part, punters remain happily oblivious to the exorbitant and unexpected rises in bars, as the majority of establishments in the Region have decided to bear a large part of the costs themselves rather than pass the current economic scenario on to the customer. . But there has been a gradual increase over the last 12 months in some areas, resulting in an increase in the average pint of 50 cents.
“It’s very difficult to sell beer for one euro, as before, otherwise the accounts won’t work,” explains Paco Torres, manager of the Punta del Sureste bar in central Murcia.
It is the craft beer sector that is particularly affected by rising costs. The director of El Cantero, Ginés García, explained that the cost of glass for bottles has increased by 20% and the price of malted cereals has increased by 30%.
“Everything has increased, boxes, plates, labels… If we add to that the cost of diesel and other overheads, it’s devastating.”
However, he assured that “all these increases do not in any way affect the final price: “Even if the price of a bottle has increased by 5 to 10%, we cannot increase the prices any more, basically we have already lost customers because of the minimal increase put in place.”