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Pubs offer pints for £1 and wine for £5 a bottle

Published:  04 January, 2009

Pub chains are responding to the recession by offering massive discounts on new year drinks prices, including beer for 99p a pint, bottles of wine for £4.99 and main meals for £1 a dish.

Wetherspoon was the first to introduce the sub-£1 pint by offering Greene King IPA and bottles of San Miguel for 99p from the end of last week.

But the prices are not expected to be available everywhere. The Town & City Pub Company, which owns chains including Yates's and Litten, said it had been offering similarly priced deals in some of its pubs for the last six months.

For example, it has been offering offering ten products, including a pint of John Smith's bitter and Foster's lager, at £1.25 at about 30 of its outlets, and Echo Falls wine has been available in its Yates's chain for £4.95 a bottle since the summer.

It said it would now be reviewing its prices again in light of Wetherspoons move which has seen a shot of Sailor Jerry rum with a mixer available at £1.29, a 75cl bottle of Jacques cider at £3.99, plus meal deals for £2.99.

Elsewhere independent pubs have been offering meal deals for as little as £1 a main course to get customers back through their doors.

The Four Crosses Inn near Crannock, Staffordshire is said to be serving up to 300 lunches a day, up from 30, after introducing the new offer.

Wetherspoon denied its offer would simply encourage excessive drinking. Keith Down, finance director, said: "Greene King IPA has a relatively low strength and tends to be an older person's drink rather than a session ale. We've been very careful about the products we've chosen."

Mr Down said that although the prices were well below the average price of a pint of beer, Wetherspoon's current prices on the same products were already quite low, with IPA selling for about £1.69 a pint and a bottle of San Miguel for £1.49.

Wetherspoon is in a stronger position than some of its rivals to offer such heavy discounts as it has reported a 1.5% rise in sales in the three months to the end of October.

Wetherspoon's chief executive John Hutson said: "We are offering leading brands of drinks at excellent prices and the five meals offer outstanding quality and value."

Asda is also leading the new year discounting charge amongst the major supermarkets by offering 100s of staple lines for £1.