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How beer price hike has affected bar business

by Editorial Team
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By Emmanuel Ssejjengo

In bar news, one of the breweries announced an increase in a range of beers and spirits last week. Whenever that happens, the retailers often increase everything that comes from a brewer or distiller. But did this latest increase, in this time of austerity, affect the Kampala night ‘crawlers’? To find out, we joined the beer guzzlers, whiskey consumers and wine tasters over the weekend.

Generally, the big boy bars have not increased bottle prices, at least not yet. Most of the bars that were already selling beer at 5k and above retained their prices.

Rugby clubs – Kyadondo and Legends in Lugogo – maintained their 5k price tag. The crowds at Legends on Saturday, May 7, during the game in which champions Heathens humiliated bitter rivals Kobs, was very huge, a full house of people drinking beer in floods.

They were, however restricted to only Nile Breweries products, until much later in the night when other taps were opened by management.

At Kyadondo Rugby Club, Friday, May 6, had the regular crowd, which is mostly made of MUBS students who dress like they want to be undressed and corporates who were spending like it was payday.

Saturday night remained a regular Sato night. When we asked one of the waitresses when the bar plans to increase beer prices, she offered, “We shall not increase. Abagagga baffe bakoma awo (we can only stretch our rich that far).”

“I had to leave Kyadondo early for a cheaper option in Luzira (Hive Bar). When I got there, they had also increased the price from sh3,500 to sh4,000. On Sunday, I prayed over Uganda’s beer prices,” says a Kyadondo regular who preferred anonymity, due to religious leanings.

The beer price at Fusion Eco Resort also remained a sobering 6k.

Healthy drinking means more eating. So, the hunt for a lot of food was on throughout the weekend.

At Komamboga pork joints, it is common to drink in buckets; and a bucket of three beers used to go for 10k. Not anymore; a beer now goes for 4k, and on Saturday, there was a notable change in drinking attitudes.

There was less of that “making tables dirty”. So, the place looked half-decent (it often falls way below on the radar of decency).

Folks were buying one beer at a time; which is a death to that “if we die, we die” attitude common at the place.

For the one hour we were there, there were not many green bottles (330ml). There were more of the brown bottles (500ml). The statement that was made was; beer is beer. Or rather, the best beer is the cheapest.

Meat Packers on Old Port Bell Road is famed for cheap beer and yet cheaper kigere. The latter remained cheap, not the former.

Beer prices went from sh3,500 to sh4,000. Just 500, and most people did not remain around to drink after consuming kigere. Only those who had other business there (mostly cattle dealers) remained there for long.

It was a weekend where folks got to know which class they belonged to. If your bar changed prices, you are a poor drunk, or rather of the drinking poor class. If your bar didn’t hike prices, you have arrived. Just pray you do not backslide. 

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