IRELAND: Dublin pubs boycott Diageo
31 Aug 2004
Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Almost a quarter of pubs in Dublin are boycotting Diageo products, according to press reports. This weekend’s Sunday Times claims that an estimated 250 of Dublin’s 1,000 pubs are refusing to serve certain Diageo products in protest over the drinks company’s decision to rise prices in June. The newspaper cited industry insiders in the story.

Diageo’s decision to raise its prices has angered publicans as they also deal with the fallout from the nationwide smoking ban, introduced earlier this year.

The newspaper noted that Government figures published last month show that drinkers consumed about 29m fewer pints in 2003 than in the previous year, but despite the fall in business, Diageo decided to increase the price of the pint by an above-inflation 6c, ignoring demands from publicans for an 18-month freeze.

Beamish & Crawford also turned up the pressure on Diageo last week, the Sunday Times said, by announcing it would extend a price freeze on its beers until January. Heineken, which raised its prices in June, has provided incentives to publicans based on volume sales to compensate. Interbrew, which distributes Stella Artois and Tennents, is understood to have frozen prices until after Christmas.

The Licensed Vintners Association, which represents Dublin publicans, refused to comment to the newspaper. Under competition law, publicans cannot be seen to be acting in concert. It is up to individuals to decide what action, if any, they want to take.

“We are aware that some publicans in the Dublin area have decided not to serve Carlsberg lager as a result of the company’s decision to apply a price increase on its draught products from June 1,” Jean Doyle, for Diageo, told the newspaper. “We are disappointed publicans have taken this action as it reduces the consumer’s brand choice.