Quality and Value – is it time to review pricing your beer?

When it comes to understanding the needs of your customers, it pays to know the relationship between quality and value. Your assumptions about pricing your beer may be wrong.

A guest post by Brett Laniosh



Beer pricing

One of the most respected beers in the West Midlands has for a number of years generated a massive cult following. It is not an über modern beer first brewed by a 22-year-old with a beard. It doesn’t have a high strength, wild citrus or coffee flavour. It is not called Salty Alligator or something trendy like that. It doesn’t come in a can or cost £4 a half. It doesn’t even have a name really – it’s just called “Bitter” and it doesn’t have a wild abstract graphic on the pump clip. But this Bitter is definitely worshipped. The beer is brewed by a traditional Black Country brewery that was established in 1877. This is Bathams Bitter. It is a 4.3% straw coloured beer that initially tastes sweet and grainy, but this is soon followed by a wonderfully complex hop palate that is quite dry. Bathams Mild and Bitter are not easy to come by in the free trade so most fans in and around the West Midlands head for one of the 10 tied houses where they are sold for well under £3 a pint.

Clearly, Bathams pubs are great examples of quality and value. But that is not the example I wish to use to demonstrate this concept. Consider the Ladybird Inn, Bromsgrove. It is one of the relatively few free trade pubs that sell Bathams Bitter as a regular beer. It is well kept, and the pub is in the Good Beer Guide, so definitely quality. The Bathams at the Ladybird will set you back about £1 more than if you had bought it in one of the Bathams tied houses. But even at £3.70 a pint it is remarkable value for money.

Trevor, a Ladybird Inn regular explains why. “I can walk to the Ladybird and get a great pint of Bathams Bitter. I can enjoy a relaxing pint of my favourite beer in my local. I know I could get the bus to Chaddesley Corbett and get the same beer but the time and expense for me to get there isn’t worth it. The few extra pence I pay to drink my favourite beer in my local is not even something I think about.”

Brett’s advice is: ‘Quality and Value is much more than well-kept beer and cheap prices. Many customers want high quality and interesting beers even if they do come at a slightly higher cost. For some customers having a slightly cheaper beer will be attractive, but when cheap comes at the price of inferior quality it proves to be a false economy’.

Contact guru@cellarcraftuk.com if you have any queries regarding beer.