An increase in the price of a pint has publicans fearing customers will opt to drink at home.

The multi-national drinks company, Diageo, which brews Guinness and other brands of beer, has announced that from 1 June 2004, the price of a pint will increase. Diageo will raise prices by 6 cent a pint and with Value Added Tax (VAT) and publican mark-up, the increase is expected to total 15 cent per pint.

The proposed increase is four times the rate of inflation and there are fears customers, pushed to their limit, will change their drinking habits. However one man will not be put off,

The smoking ban didn’t stop me the price of a pint wont either.

Chairman of the Consumers Association of Ireland Michael Kilcoyne, says that Diageo’s sales have slipped in Ireland and they are increasing the price of a pint and their drinks in general, to make up for that reduction.

Their concern is purely about their bottom line.

In a statement, Diageo says the price rise was announced in March 2004 but its implementation was postponed until 1 June because of the introduction of the smoking ban.

With some pubs already feeling the pinch of the smoking ban, it is feared the increase in the price of a pint will further injure the pub trade, as more and more customers will opt to drink at home.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 26 May 2004. The reporter is Eileen Whelan.