York's cheapest and priciest pints revealed

A sign at the Minster Inn in Marygate, showing the average cost of a pint in York

A sign at the Minster Inn in Marygate, showing the average cost of a pint in York

First published in Pints of View
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by

GAVIN AITCHISON calculates the average price of a pint in this city with helps from the York Beer Census

THE calculations have been completed and the results are in: the average pint of ale in York now costs £3.15 Organisers of the York Beer Census, held on June 7, have analysed the returns from nearly 200 bar visits and can now tell more about the variety, type and strength of beer in York's pubs than ever before. So if you enjoy numbers, then you're in for a treat here...

Perhaps the most telling figure is that one of £3.15, which is 13p higher than when the last census was done, in 2012. That’s an above-inflation rise of four per cent in two years, suggesting the freeze on beer duty has been countered by continuing difficulties in the trade. As a comparison, the average keg pint is £3.41.

The census also reveals the true breadth of York's beer scene, with the price of a pint ranging from £1.34 to the best part of £10.

It will surprise nobody that the lowest-priced beers were in pubs owned by Samuel Smith's Brewery, while the most expensive were mostly in specialist craft beer pubs – the rarer, more unusual, higher-strength beers that are routinely sold in halves or thirds rather than pints.

The priciest recorded on the day was Karmeliet Tripel at the House of the Trembling Madness in Stonegate, at £7 a pint. There have been beers more expensive still in the city at times over the past year, though not on that day it seems.

On the day, there were 24 beers at £5 a pint or more, although it should be stressed all bars selling such beers also have many at lower prices.

Ian Loftus, owner of the House of the Trembling Madness, says the bar no longer sells Karmeliet Tripel on draught, as it has become too expensive to source, but the bar continues to specialise in unusual beers from top breweries and Ian says some prices reflect that. Their average price is £3.50 a pint, he says.

What else do the findings tell us? Well, what do you want to know?

Real ale was available in 164 pubs, with 132 different brewers represented. Those figures include 74 ales from 22 'locale' breweries, namely those within 25 miles of York. 83 pubs had at least one local ale.

Census volunteers collected data from 197 pubs or bars. They found 281 different real ales and 146 different keg beers, giving a total of 427 different beers, up from 360 in 2012.

The survey also showed York's beer scene has improved compared to that in Norwich, which pipped York in 2012 for the unofficial "ale capital of Britain" title. Norwich's 2014 survey found 240 real ales, down from 261 two years earlier. As an aside, Leeds beer enthusiasts plan a similar survey of 70 city-centre pubs later this month.

Praise must go to Lucy Buykx from York Camra and York-based academic Ignazio Cabras, who both led the way on this year's census and who will continue scrutinising the data.

Dr Cabras, a Reader in Economics, Business and Management at Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University (and a specialist in the economics of beer and pubs) says the rising variety since 2012 reflects growth in the British brewing industry.

He said: "I am delighted to see pubs supplied by local breweries in Yorkshire as well as from other breweries located elsewhere in the country, as this expands the range of choice for residents and visitors."

Although breweries pay reduced tax on beers below 2.8 per cent ABV, few such beers were sold, suggesting a lack of demand in York, he says. More research could help tell whether increasing the ABV threshold for tax relief would help breweries, he adds.

Lucy says there is growing interest in York in enjoying a wide range of beers and adds: "I was particularly pleased to see an increase in the number of beers on sale from LocAle breweries."

She thanks the census volunteers and York Brewery Club, which provided a base for the organisers and beer and snacks for volunteers.

 

York’s beer scene at a glance...

Cheapest keg beer: Sam Smith’s Dark Mild of Light Ale – £1.34 a pint at Buckles Inn, Rose & Crown at Askham Bryan, Sea Horses, Six Bells, Tankard, Trafalgar Bay.

Cheapest real ale: Sam Smith’s OBB – £1.80 at Blacksmiths Arms in Skelton, Brigadier Gerard, Brown Cow, Buckles Inn, Crystal Palace, Ebor, Rose & Crown in Askham Richard, Sea Horses, Six Bells, Tankard, Tiger in Haxby, Trafalgar Bay, York Arms.

Most expensive beer: Karmeliet Triple (8.5 per cent) – £7 at House of Trembling Madness in Stonegate Five most frequently available ales: John Smith’s Cask, Black Sheep Bitter, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin and Sharp’s Doom Bar.

Five most frequently available local ales: York Brewery’s Guzzler and Terrier, Sam Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter OBB, Leeds Pale, and Rooster’s Yankee.

Strength ratio: Real ales surveyed ranged in strength from 2.7 per cent to 7.4 per cent, although 95 per cent of ales were within the range of 3.5 to 5.4 per cent.

Comments (12)

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10:21pm Sun 17 Aug 14

mike.......durkin says...

york is getting to dear for drinks in the 80s a pint £2 its shoking paying £3 or £4 pint when we hard aT WORK AND WONT TO GO OUT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. THEN YOU GO HOME YOR OUT OF POCKIT SHAME ON YOU.PUBS
york is getting to dear for drinks in the 80s a pint £2 its shoking paying £3 or £4 pint when we hard aT WORK AND WONT TO GO OUT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. THEN YOU GO HOME YOR OUT OF POCKIT SHAME ON YOU.PUBS mike.......durkin
  • Score: -50

10:52am Mon 18 Aug 14

Hollywood Star says...

Doesn't affect me being teetotal however I find the price of soft drinks peetty extortionate sometimes being as much as a pint of beer.
Doesn't affect me being teetotal however I find the price of soft drinks peetty extortionate sometimes being as much as a pint of beer. Hollywood Star
  • Score: 29

1:11pm Mon 18 Aug 14

TheMinsterMen says...

mike.......durkin wrote:
york is getting to dear for drinks in the 80s a pint £2 its shoking paying £3 or £4 pint when we hard aT WORK AND WONT TO GO OUT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. THEN YOU GO HOME YOR OUT OF POCKIT SHAME ON YOU.PUBS
Sorry, but i'm going to have to correct all of your spelling and grammar so that people can understand it.

"York is getting too dear for drinks, in the 80's a pint cost £2 it's shocking paying £3 or £4 a pint when we work hard and want to go out to have a good time. Then you go home and you're out of pocket, shame on you pubs."

Can I ask as a side note, when do you ever go out drinking and come back with more money than you left with (excluding the races, but even that is a rare treat)?
[quote][p][bold]mike.......durkin[/bold] wrote: york is getting to dear for drinks in the 80s a pint £2 its shoking paying £3 or £4 pint when we hard aT WORK AND WONT TO GO OUT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. THEN YOU GO HOME YOR OUT OF POCKIT SHAME ON YOU.PUBS[/p][/quote]Sorry, but i'm going to have to correct all of your spelling and grammar so that people can understand it. "York is getting too dear for drinks, in the 80's a pint cost £2 it's shocking paying £3 or £4 a pint when we work hard and want to go out to have a good time. Then you go home and you're out of pocket, shame on you pubs." Can I ask as a side note, when do you ever go out drinking and come back with more money than you left with (excluding the races, but even that is a rare treat)? TheMinsterMen
  • Score: 28

1:29pm Mon 18 Aug 14

raysalaugh says...

I've just come back from a weekend in London to find that a pint of bitter is normally kept better and is cheaper. The York city center pubs rip off their customers by charging extortionate prices whilst serving inferior beers. The main culprits are those that sell the local beer like John Smiths etc. Sam Smiths, as stated in the article is the exception. Shame on you Varsity, Harkers and Three Cranes.
I've just come back from a weekend in London to find that a pint of bitter is normally kept better and is cheaper. The York city center pubs rip off their customers by charging extortionate prices whilst serving inferior beers. The main culprits are those that sell the local beer like John Smiths etc. Sam Smiths, as stated in the article is the exception. Shame on you Varsity, Harkers and Three Cranes. raysalaugh
  • Score: -5

3:28pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Ninja9 says...

TheMinsterMen wrote:
mike.......durkin wrote:
york is getting to dear for drinks in the 80s a pint £2 its shoking paying £3 or £4 pint when we hard aT WORK AND WONT TO GO OUT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. THEN YOU GO HOME YOR OUT OF POCKIT SHAME ON YOU.PUBS
Sorry, but i'm going to have to correct all of your spelling and grammar so that people can understand it.

"York is getting too dear for drinks, in the 80's a pint cost £2 it's shocking paying £3 or £4 a pint when we work hard and want to go out to have a good time. Then you go home and you're out of pocket, shame on you pubs."

Can I ask as a side note, when do you ever go out drinking and come back with more money than you left with (excluding the races, but even that is a rare treat)?
Sorry, but I'm going to have to correct *your* grammar so that it's more lucid ;o)

"York is getting too dear for drinks.
In the 80s, a pint cost £2; it's shocking paying £3 or £4 a pint when we work hard and want to go out to have a good time. When we go home we are out of pocket.
Shame on you, pubs."

Hee hee
[quote][p][bold]TheMinsterMen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mike.......durkin[/bold] wrote: york is getting to dear for drinks in the 80s a pint £2 its shoking paying £3 or £4 pint when we hard aT WORK AND WONT TO GO OUT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. THEN YOU GO HOME YOR OUT OF POCKIT SHAME ON YOU.PUBS[/p][/quote]Sorry, but i'm going to have to correct all of your spelling and grammar so that people can understand it. "York is getting too dear for drinks, in the 80's a pint cost £2 it's shocking paying £3 or £4 a pint when we work hard and want to go out to have a good time. Then you go home and you're out of pocket, shame on you pubs." Can I ask as a side note, when do you ever go out drinking and come back with more money than you left with (excluding the races, but even that is a rare treat)?[/p][/quote]Sorry, but I'm going to have to correct *your* grammar so that it's more lucid ;o) "York is getting too dear for drinks. In the 80s, a pint cost £2; it's shocking paying £3 or £4 a pint when we work hard and want to go out to have a good time. When we go home we are out of pocket. Shame on you, pubs." Hee hee Ninja9
  • Score: 6

3:56pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Paul Simpson says...

Im not suprised Sams is the cheapest its terrible, beer lager stout all horrible.
Yet go visit the brewary and the beer is amazing. It just does not travel.
Im not suprised Sams is the cheapest its terrible, beer lager stout all horrible. Yet go visit the brewary and the beer is amazing. It just does not travel. Paul Simpson
  • Score: 6

6:22pm Mon 18 Aug 14

harrygilmore says...

I think that the spelling on these threads is nearly as bad as the press reporting on non issues.
I think that the spelling on these threads is nearly as bad as the press reporting on non issues. harrygilmore
  • Score: 1

7:51pm Mon 18 Aug 14

LeMort says...

York: The London of the north!
York: The London of the north! LeMort
  • Score: 1

9:47pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Jazzper says...

Rip off Britain...NO, Rip off York !
Rip off Britain...NO, Rip off York ! Jazzper
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Stevie D says...

Hollywood Star wrote:
Doesn't affect me being teetotal however I find the price of soft drinks peetty extortionate sometimes being as much as a pint of beer.
Spot on. How can pubs justify charging more than £2 for a pint of Coke/Pepsi, when there's no alcohol duty to pay and it costs them only a few pence? If they were serious about encouraging people to drink responsibly then they wouldn't mark up soft drinks so extortionately.
[quote][p][bold]Hollywood Star[/bold] wrote: Doesn't affect me being teetotal however I find the price of soft drinks peetty extortionate sometimes being as much as a pint of beer.[/p][/quote]Spot on. How can pubs justify charging more than £2 for a pint of Coke/Pepsi, when there's no alcohol duty to pay and it costs them only a few pence? If they were serious about encouraging people to drink responsibly then they wouldn't mark up soft drinks so extortionately. Stevie D
  • Score: 13

3:33pm Tue 19 Aug 14

TCJYork says...

raysalaugh wrote:
I've just come back from a weekend in London to find that a pint of bitter is normally kept better and is cheaper. The York city center pubs rip off their customers by charging extortionate prices whilst serving inferior beers. The main culprits are those that sell the local beer like John Smiths etc. Sam Smiths, as stated in the article is the exception. Shame on you Varsity, Harkers and Three Cranes.
Nonsense. I rarely to never find a pint for under £3.80 in London. £4.20-£4.50 is pretty standard and even £5 is not unusual. As for how well kept beer is? My God, most London pubs come nowhere near the standard of York's. Added to that the fact that so few of the bar staff know how to pull a pint. I know where I'd rather be supping, had I the choice!
[quote][p][bold]raysalaugh[/bold] wrote: I've just come back from a weekend in London to find that a pint of bitter is normally kept better and is cheaper. The York city center pubs rip off their customers by charging extortionate prices whilst serving inferior beers. The main culprits are those that sell the local beer like John Smiths etc. Sam Smiths, as stated in the article is the exception. Shame on you Varsity, Harkers and Three Cranes.[/p][/quote]Nonsense. I rarely to never find a pint for under £3.80 in London. £4.20-£4.50 is pretty standard and even £5 is not unusual. As for how well kept beer is? My God, most London pubs come nowhere near the standard of York's. Added to that the fact that so few of the bar staff know how to pull a pint. I know where I'd rather be supping, had I the choice! TCJYork
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Tue 19 Aug 14

TCJYork says...

TCJYork wrote:
raysalaugh wrote:
I've just come back from a weekend in London to find that a pint of bitter is normally kept better and is cheaper. The York city center pubs rip off their customers by charging extortionate prices whilst serving inferior beers. The main culprits are those that sell the local beer like John Smiths etc. Sam Smiths, as stated in the article is the exception. Shame on you Varsity, Harkers and Three Cranes.
Nonsense. I rarely to never find a pint for under £3.80 in London. £4.20-£4.50 is pretty standard and even £5 is not unusual. As for how well kept beer is? My God, most London pubs come nowhere near the standard of York's. Added to that the fact that so few of the bar staff know how to pull a pint. I know where I'd rather be supping, had I the choice!
Tea and coffee in York however, now that's where you really get your trousers pulled down!
[quote][p][bold]TCJYork[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]raysalaugh[/bold] wrote: I've just come back from a weekend in London to find that a pint of bitter is normally kept better and is cheaper. The York city center pubs rip off their customers by charging extortionate prices whilst serving inferior beers. The main culprits are those that sell the local beer like John Smiths etc. Sam Smiths, as stated in the article is the exception. Shame on you Varsity, Harkers and Three Cranes.[/p][/quote]Nonsense. I rarely to never find a pint for under £3.80 in London. £4.20-£4.50 is pretty standard and even £5 is not unusual. As for how well kept beer is? My God, most London pubs come nowhere near the standard of York's. Added to that the fact that so few of the bar staff know how to pull a pint. I know where I'd rather be supping, had I the choice![/p][/quote]Tea and coffee in York however, now that's where you really get your trousers pulled down! TCJYork
  • Score: 1

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