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Beer drinkers slugged again – this time for takeaway brews

Beer drinkers face another price hike – this time due to rising production costs.

Beer drinkers face another price hike – this time due to rising production costs. Photo: AAP

Beer drinkers are about to be slugged again, just a fortnight after copping a hefty price rise for their favourite pint at their local pub.

In another cost-of-living hit, producers warn surging supply costs are about to hit the price of takeaway stubbies – adding up to $10 to a box of beer in the next few months.

It follows the August 1 beer excise hit that, pegged to inflation, was the biggest increase in the alcohol tax in 30 years.

Independent Brewers Association chief executive Kylie Lethbridge says some producers would be able to absorb costs while others will pass it on to the consumer.

“Independent craft breweries around the country operate on different models so it will be different in terms of how they calculate their cost of good sold…It’s likely that as we continue to have to pay more for our inputs, then beer’s cost in the market will rise.”

Brewers Association of Australia chief executive John Preston said tax wasn’t the only factor to send beer prices spiralling.

“Whether it’s wages or packaging or materials, all are driving prices up,” he said.

“You’re now looking at maybe $15 for a pint of beer at a pub … [and] it’s difficult to see the price of beer going down, especially as the tax increases every six months.”

Drinkers will feel the pinch as brewers warn of another beer price hike. Photo: Getty

This week, the co-founder of Western Australia’s Wilson Brewing, Matt Wilson, said the price of aluminium used to make beer cans was rising fast, along with many beer ingredients. That was a major contributor to looming price hikes for takeaway products.

“Grain, barley especially, is the highest spec of barley of grain that a farmer can grow to … so their direct energy input costs is directly reflected on the price that they’ve charged for their grain,” Mr Wilson told the ABC.

“You might see a $5 to $10 raise in carton prices coming up around Christmas time, or even before.”

Resource analyst Tim Treadgold said aluminium was expensive to produce because of the amount of energy required.

“To get the can through the plant onto a truck off to the bottling or packaging depot … the trucks that haul up there are running on liquid fuels, which are also expensive,” he said to the ABC

“The energy input into the whole process has gone up substantially in all facets of production.”

Ms Lethbridge said she had concerns for the industry, as it struggled to recover from the pandemic.

“Some feel that this is more of a challenge,” she said of the spiking costs.

“Unless the global situation changes with the cost of ingredients like malt and hops, then it’s unlikely that we will see a decrease in beer prices.”

Ms Lethbridge said craft beer often appeared more expensive – but those who bought it were supporting Australian-owned businesses.

“Often our breweries are members of the community. You’ll see them on the local netball committee or the school committee,” she said.

“We would like to call out all Aussies to continue to support those Australian businesses.”

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