Bad luck for breweries and beer lovers this St. Patrick's Day
Beer prices are going up, but it's not the breweries and bars behind the price increase
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The cost of buying a brew and cracking open a cold one is going to get more expensive this year.
"It’s going to be no time before it’s $8 for a draft beer," Sean Derfield, owner of Sean Finnegan's Pub in Sacramento, said.
With inflation, everything from the grain used to brew beer to the glass used to catch a pour has risen in price over the past year.
"Packaging increases, labor cost increases, supply chain cost and shipping increases, barley and malt increases, and we’re starting to see that translate into consumer prices," Brewers Association Chief Economist Bart Watson said.
Watson said the price hike for consumers is lagging behind increased production costs.
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"What we saw in the February (consumer price index) numbers is that inflation is starting to pick up in beer, though maybe still lagging in the overall consumer price index," Watson said.
Watson said the price for beer rose 2% from January to February, which is what is usually expected for an entire year.
Bars and breweries across the country are already starting to see increased costs for production and business operations.
"We see the prices continuing to rise, so we think we’re going to have them [prices] a little higher," Derfield said.
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Derfield said that his cost of operations rose 15% last summer, and he expects his costs to increase even higher.
"When I started, there was a lot of profit in the bar business," he said.
Bars like Sean Finnegan's are also still dealing with shipping issues and delays.
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One of the most important components to make a brew is barley, which has risen nearly 200% in price over the past two years, according to the consumer price index.
"This is a challenge for breweries, since malt and barley are a primary ingredient, particularly for small brewers," Watson said.