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I notice a lot more rumblings and grumblings on t'interweb about the perceived high costs of craft keg beer. Pete Brown did a nice piece on what he feels is the most worrying aspect of craft beer, which is quality at the point of dispense. I agree with most of what he says, but not that it is a problem which has recurred. To me quality may be better than it was - and that's arguable - but problems have never gone away as such. I too am always keen to bang on about the quality thing, particularly when it comes to cask beer, though Pete makes many more far reaching points too, particularly about unfined beer. More power to his elbow on that one. And he does mention prices, although in the context of getting bad beer.

So, price. The moaning on the internet has been about how much craft keg costs at the bar. It is justified by brewers by saying it costs them more through equipment, keykeg costs, ingredient cost and more, though many would argue that ingredients cannot justify the cost differences, especially for the same beer in keg and cask. That in turn means higher prices at the pumps say pub and bar owners. Another point about craft keg (and it is mainly but not exclusively keg) is that high prices and alcohol levels mean you are also likely to drink a lot less of it, which creates its own vicious circle of needing to charge higher prices, not just to cover the higher costs of buying it, but to account for lower turnover and to maintain profit. If nothing else, this will limit the spread of bars than can charge such a lot. There's only so many that the market will stand. So while brewers (and pubs and bars) may have these lovely margins now, they may be heading for a brick wall if the market expands. The customer and the market will decide in the end and my bet is that price will play a bigger part, as or if the spread of craft keg increases. There may be rockier times ahead for this craft beer boom.

One thing is for sure and for now. Beer in certain places is becoming eye wateringly expensive and drinkers are starting to notice and question it. You are bound to get a lot more shirty when you pay top dollar for a duff pint and a lot more likely to kick up about it.

I really recommend Pete Brown's article. The link is above in the first paragraph.