Belfast Telegraph

Craft beer in 'shopping basket' to calculate inflation

By Margaret Canning

A Northern Ireland craft brewer has said he is not surprised that the product is now included in the basket of goods used to calculate inflation.

The Official for National Statistics (ONS) said the beverage category - characterised by flavour, brewing method and quality of hops - had joined the basket due to increasing demand from drinkers and presence on store shelves.

Matthew Dick established brewery co-operative Boundary Brewing in east Belfast last year, inspired by the US craft beer revolution and Belgian styles of beer.

It's one of many independent breweries which have sprung up around Northern Ireland over the last few years.

He said he wasn't surprised at the beverage's initiation into the hypothetical basket. "The craft beer market certainly is growing - the UK follows America, the south of Ireland follows the UK and we are following the south."

Mr Dick said the trend would continue for some time, but he warned the bubble could burst for anything but the highest-quality craft beer.

"For now there is more shelf-space to be had for good beer made with interesting, quality ingredients," he said.

Sat-nav devices are being removed from the ONS basket, partly because many drivers now navigate using smart phones while some new cars have inbuilt devices.

The ONS currently uses 703 items to compile the basket of goods and services to make up the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Changes in CPI are used to measure UK inflation - which is at an all-time low of 0.3% for January. Changes in the make-up of the basket are often seen as tracking the shifting habits of the British consumer.

Also included in the ONS list today for the first time are music streaming services - such as Spotify - as well as online console computer game subscriptions.

Headphones have been added to the list amid their increasing purchase alongside games consoles.

Belfast Telegraph