I spent saturday evening between Bull and Castle and The Black Sheep - I reckon its the first time I have walked from one to the other. What stuck me immediately was that there were some massive differences in what they are both charging for same or similar drinks.
E.g. in the B&C you can have a measure of Redbreast Whiskey for 5.60. The same measure in Black Sheep was 8.00
A pint of Buckleys Pale Ale (House beer) is €4, Black Sheeps own beer is sold at €5.10
Its not just these two products either but the whole host of drinks are considerably more expensive in Cottage Group pubs than in the B&C. While I admire what the Cottage group have achieved in the last couple of years I do think they need to do something about the price which they are asking, it doesn't seem to have done them any harm in terms of business so far but I think in time people who have switched on to craft beer will become more prudent about where they buy it especially if the margins are that much different.
I actually think that the Cottage Groups pricing is the standard for city centre pubs- I rarely see a pint for less than a fiver anywhere (and usually considerably more). But with that being said, the B&C are incredibly well priced (especially their €4 Monday to Wednesday beers).
I'm dropping down to the Avoca/Dark Horse this week. I know how much I paid for a pint of O'Hara's IPA last time I was in there...