Complaints about the price of a pint are nothing new but an Australian journalist has more reason than most to gripe, after being charged more than £55,000 for a beer in a Manchester hotel.
Peter Lalor, who is the chief cricket writer and beer editor of the Australian newspaper, was charged the exorbitant sum for a bottle of Deuchars IPA at the Malmaison hotel, after a day watching the Ashes cricket series at Old Trafford.
“I decided I wanted one beer on the way home and dropped in because I have mates staying there,” he said.
“When I paid, I didn’t have my glasses on and there was some issue with the machine so I had to put my details in twice.
“I just had this weird feeling and I said, ‘How much did I just pay for that beer?’ The girl at the bar looked at the receipt and said, ‘Oh my God!’ and was a bit reluctant to show me the bill.”
Upon seeing he had been charged A$99,983.64 (£55,262.96), Lalor said a hotel manager immediately admitted the mistake and promised to help him rectify it with his bank. He left, wrongly assuming the bank would never authorise such a large payment anyway.
“I woke up to an alarmed phone call from my wife, who had found a massive hole in my mortgage account,” said Lalor. “They can take the money out in a second but apparently it takes them up to 10 working days to put it back. I’m losing a fair whack of interest and as of this moment, I’m $99,000 out of pocket.
“One wag commented that I’d just been charged London prices.”
However, the £55,000 price tag by far outstrips the £22.50 per pint Speedway Stout that was on offer in a London branch of the Craft Beer Co pub chain last year.
“It looks like I’ve ordered the most expensive beer in history,” said Lalor. “It was good but not that good.”
A Malmaison spokesperson said: “We are currently carrying out an investigation into what took place. We have been in contact with Peter to apologise and ensure this has been resolved as quickly as possible.”