Draft beer prices in Prague restaurants take a significant hop in the new year

Due to a change in value-added tax rates for draft beer and continued brewery operational costs, Praguers will pay more for draft beer in 2024.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 05.01.2024 11:52:00 (updated on 05.01.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prices for draft beer in the capital are rising due to a large jump in the value-added tax (VAT) on it – from 10 to 21 percent – that came into force this year. According to data from Dotykačka, a company that analyzes cash register data, the average price for a pint of 12-degree beer in Prague is now more than CZK 70.

Analysis from Dotykačka shows that a pint of draft beer in Prague restaurants was CZK 64.3 on average last July. In 2022, it was around CZK 59 and in 2021 the average stood at CZK 52. Today, the average hovers around CZK 73.

Restaurants already raising prices

Now, Prague restaurants have raised their prices by an average of CZK 3 to CZK 4 per pint due to the VAT change, as well as the rising costs of operating breweries. Some establishments, such as one on Národní trida, have even increased their prices by as much as CZK 8. Other large chains in Prague opted to pre-emptively raise prices in November or December 2023.

Residents of Prague and visiting tourists need to pay above the odds for their pint of beer. The national average last year was CZK 54.

Luboš Kastner, who represents the gastronomy section of Czechia's Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (AMSP) told CNN Prima: "Far from Prague and Brno, [the VAT increase] is being transferred gradually and they are waiting to see what will happen."

Could some pubs be forced to shut?

Kastner also noted the impact on businesses in smaller municipalities, where pubs and restaurants may struggle to stay afloat with the added cost. In some cases, these establishments may need to choose to close until the spring, when they hope to resume operations. In the worst-case scenario, it may cause them to close permanently.

The increase in beer prices has been a continual issue in recent years, with breweries like Pilsenský Prazdroj and Budějovice Budvar also raising their prices substantially every year since 2020. This has caused pubs and restaurants to pay for their beer, ultimately impacting the consumer.

Last year, the AMSP suggested postponing the VAT changes in the gastronomy industry to alleviate the burden on these businesses – however, the government declined.

In light of the recent price increases, some municipalities have taken matters into their own hands by running pubs themselves or renting out spaces to pub landlords at a nominal cost to keep these community meeting places alive.

As businesses adapt to the new VAT rate, the extent of how much it will affect Prague's gastronomy industry and its consumers remains to be seen. For now, Prague residents and tourists alike will have to adjust to paying higher prices for their pints of draft beer in the city.

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