Drinkers warned price of a pint could go up 10p as pubs try to recoup Christmas party losses

PUNTERS have been warned to expect pricier pints this winter as pubs struggle to bear the cost of cancelled Christmas parties.

Thousands of Christmas dos have been called off as the Omicron variant spreads and the government's Plan B restrictions come into effect.

The cost to pubs is tens of millions of pounds in lost revenue – plus the money already spent buying in extra drinks.

Punters are set to pay the price in the form of costlier pints.

City Pub Group chairman Clive Watson told Today that pints will increase in price by around 10p.

Watson said: "About ten days ago office parties started to get cancelled, typically parties for 40 to 50 people.

"After yesterday's [Plan B] announcement, that has accelerated."

But one retail expert said the move is justified.

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Shore Capital retail analyst Clive Black told The Sun he feels sympathy for struggling pub chains.

Black said: "Beer is a short shelf-life product, unlike wine or spirits, so there could be millions of pounds' worth of beer write-offs over the coming weeks.

"Part of that cost has to come in putting prices up.

"Plus, people at Christmas parties tend to drink a fair amount of booze at those events, which only exacerbates the disappointment pubs will be feeling."

A spokesperson for Wetherspoons told us the pub chain has no plans to raise its prices, but cannot make any guarantees.

It also pointed to a recent extension in its cheap drinks deal – taking its offer of 99p pints well into February.

Pubgoers will be hoping the pint price rise doesn't go higher than 10p.

Millions of UK households have seen their energy bills spike as wholesale gas prices soar, sparking a new cost of living crunch.

High inflation comes at the same time as low growth, with the UK economy sluggish in returning to its pre-Covid size.

However, pubs will be reassured that Brits can WORK while they nurse their drinks under the new Covid rules.

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