One industry leader warned the average pint would rise by as much as 30p and said drinkers in London would be regularly paying £6 for a beer.
Dave Mountford, co-founder of the Forum of British Pubs, said such increases would be needed for publicans to meet rising costs. “In my pub that means I will be charging more than £4 for a pint of cask ale for the first time," he said. "It will mean much more in areas like London."
Publicans have appealed to chancellor Rishi Sunak for support for the brewing and pub sector ahead of the Budget on 27 October.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “If the government is serious about levelling up, it must get serious about reducing the tax burdens on our sector.
“Investing in our brewers and pubs is investing in our communities and society to build back better. In return we will create jobs, boost the local economy and help our communities reconnect and unite again.
Drinks wholesalers Matthew Clark and Bibendum said they were increasing prices by 3.5 to 5 per cent due to the impacts of the pandemic and the UK’s supply chain crisis. A pint of beer in London currently costs £5.33 on average, a 3 per cent rise from 2020.
Ed Bedington, editor of the trade journal Morning Advertiser, who conducted the survey reportedly said: “Price rises are rapidly becoming a major reality for operators that are already facing increases on a number of fronts, from the rise in the national living wage through to the increases in VAT and the threat of a return to the full horror that is business rates.
“We’re facing a tsunami of increases on the horizon and it’s going to be a real challenge for all.”
Earlier this month shoppers were told to do their Christmas shopping early and freeze some items to avoid the disappointment of empty shelves. Experts said the UK had “run out of time” to save Christmas due to labour shortages spanning back to summer.
The British Retail Consortium warned 5,000 lorry driver visas would not be enough to prevent Christmas disruption. One haulage industry boss said retailers should now start prioritising deliveries of essential goods over Christmas presents because there will not be enough lorry drivers to cope with demand.
A new report published by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank urged Mr Sunak to avoid raising alcohol duties as the UK is facing a “cost of living crisis” brought on by inflation, rising energy prices and withdrawal of universal credit.