A West Midlands pub is selling pints at prices from 15 years ago to encourage locals back into venues during the cost of living crisis.
The Waggon and Horses in Oldbury, West Midlands, sells pints for as little as £2.30 - the average price in 2009 - making it one of Britain's cheapest pubs. All beers, ciders and ales cost £2.90 or less, and they believe they may be cheapest in the UK. The old-fashioned Black Country pub said it wanted to "give back" to locals with bargain beer while people struggle with the cost of living. A pint of Stella costs just £2.80, while pints of Carling, Coors and John Smiths are £2.40 and a pint of Thatcher's Gold is £2.30.
The average cost of a pint in the UK is now more than £4.50 for the first time — compared to £2.30 in 2008, during the last recession. And a pint in London's West End can now top £9 while one in ten bars sell at between £6-£6.99.
Leaseholder of the Waggon and Horses, Matthew Porter, said: "I've had this pub for seven years, and it's a proper locals pub. It deserves to be busy every day. There are multi-million pound companies either side of us who are putting their prices up, and we're putting ours down to say 'come and drink with us'. In this day and age you have to think a bit outside of the box. We just looked at how low we could cut our prices while managing to survive."
Porter said the plan was to "pack the place out all day, every day". He said: "We should be able to pay the bills and people get cheap beer, so it keeps everyone happy. It's hard for people at the minute, some are struggling and aren't going to go out and spend £40 on a Friday night anymore.
"But if that suddenly turns into more like a £10 night, we're hoping people will be more inclined to come and have a drink with us. We want to keep traditional pubs going. They are part of communities and are closing all over. I think the younger generations will forget how to socialise."
'We need customers to support us'
The landlord said that in order to keep prices low, people would have to show their support for his small, traditional pub. "The architecture inside is phenomenal," he said. "There are old-fashioned tiled floors and ceilings and a real log fire. The pub is small, but it makes up for that with its atmosphere."
Waggon and Horses regular George Scott, 67, of Oldbury, said: "It's a great little pub and I'll be back here a lot more now the prices are so low. Credit to them. At the moment prices seem to be going up in every aspect of life so to see them come down somewhere is amazing. They have slashed pretty much their entire selection, which is unheard of. You get others doing £1 a pint for a certain amount of hours on one day a week - but to keep prices this low all of the time is brilliant. It has got to be the cheapest pub in the country in terms of its whole selection."
Geordie Gordon, 62, originally from Newcastle, now living in Oldbury, has been drinking in the Waggon and Horse for 15 years. He said: "I think it's great. I've just come back from Cardiff where I was paying £6 a pint and that was the cheapest, so to come back here where the prices are so low, makes it much more affordable to go for a pint.
"The prices are now similar to when I first started coming 15 years ago. It's a lovely little pub and everybody knows each other."
How much will a pint cost in five years time?
The average price of a pint jumps almost 12% year-on-year, and drinkers have been warned that within five years they could be paying up to £8-10 for one pint.
The average pint of lager increased by more than 50p within the space of a single year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published in June 2023. The data, which takes into account regional variations and other factors, revealed that the average price was reaching upwards to five pounds, at £4.56. But the same pint in 2022 would have cost around £4.07.
JD Wetherspoons owner Tim Martin, told Andrew Marr on LBC last summer that pints would “quite probably” hit £8 before too long. In London, many pubs already charge more than £7 for one pint, a figure that could rise to more than £11 in the next five years.