Krombacher prices: a chat with co-Chair Rob McKay – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

Krombacher prices: a chat with co-Chair Rob McKay

With the new season fast approaching, media officer Matthew Durrant had a chat with co-Chair Rob McKay about one of the big issues of our day: Krombacher prices, and what they’re going to be for next season. As part of our new podcast series (apologies for the sound quality on this one, where circumstance dictated the only place it could be recorded was stood up, by a stump, by a main road), McKay chats about his role as a chairman, his role with West Women, how to volunteer at the club, and – of course – how much you can expect to pay for a pint next season. Read an excerpt of the podcast below (namely, the Krombacher segment), or listen to the full 20 minute podcast below.

To confirm: Krombacher for the forthcoming season will be increased to £3.50, but we’ll also be running a 3 for £10 offer before games using a beer token system which will mean you’re able to redeem that offer throughout the game. See below for the full logistics of how this will work, as well as the club’s reasoning behind it.

You can listen and subscribe to the podcast in a number of places, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, or via RSS feedsee the full list on the Anchor.FM website here.

Matthew Durrant: I believe there’s been some changes to the prices behind the bar, would you like to elaborate on that?

Rob McKay: What a summer to do it in! Well, Krombacher is unfortunately in price, it is increasing to £3.50 a bottle for this season. It is something we’ve worked very hard not to do over the past 5 seasons, so rather than incremental change, finally I think unfortunately we have to increase the price. We are aware that is something that fans identify with, it is synonymous with our football club, unfortunately we couldn’t put it off any longer. When Wetherspoons are charging 40p per bottle more than we are, it shows how long we’ve avoided doing it. The reason isn’t for greed – it is simply because, because of Brexit, the price of Krombacher has increased, and now we have to make that we’re still profitable selling it.

MD: I’ve been down coming down the club for 5 or 6 years, and in all that time the price of Krombacher hasn’t increased once, so when I first started coming down it was £3 a pint – which at the time I thought was very cheap, as there were very few other places in Chorlton where you could get a decent pint of lager for three quid. Five years on, that’s certainly not the case – like Wetherspoons, where Krombacher is closer to £4 than it is £3. I believe there is also some good news, or at least mitigating factors, something in the works so that people aren’t necessarily feeling that price increase?

RM: Yes, absolutely, we understand that there needs to be something for everyone. Some of the guest ales, some of the now more established ales have been £3.50 for some time. Our plan this season – we’re absolutely blessed to have Kath and Mike Tyldesley, who have agreed to volunteer for this season, and what we’re going to do is introduce beer tokens. These beer tokens will be available before the game, up until 2:45 on a Saturday – we’re not quite sure how this will work on midweek games yet – they will be 3 for £10, and redeemable all throughout the game, so people can buy them early doors, keep them in the pocket, buy themselves a Krombacher. Hopefully, as well, it will make getting served at the bar quicker, the beer should be colder – fingers crossed – so yes, what we’re going to do to offset that increase is introduce 3 for £10 to make sure it is still affordable for everyone.

MD: One of the main issues that people brought up [in the fan survey] was congestion at the bar, which I know that you and I have talked about before, where there’s no real way around that. We can’t stick an extra 5 people on the bar, but it would just mean nobody would be able to move, we’re currently not at the point where we’re able to expand the clubhouse, so probably the easiest way is looking to reduce the amount of time that each person has to spend at the bar, making payments, and so whoever is serving you isn’t having to go get change for a tenner, and can just take a token as payment.

RM: There’s so much though that has gone into how we serve people over the past 4 or 5 years… we’ve gone from a pull apart fridge, having beers in there, we’ve gone from that to two fridges, now we’ve got three chillers, we’re trying to get a fourth chiller. We’ve gone from one till to two tills, we’ve gone from cash only to iZettle (card payment), and we’ve got a second and third iZettle (card payment machine) coming in this summer. You know, we’re really trying to make sure we maximise the experience for the supporter, and that’s shortening the wait time. You know it is great how orderly people queue, it is so West, but you know – we’ve expanded the bar in the past, we’ve widened it… we’ve put so much time and effort into maximising what we offer… and we still have people queuing out of the door. It is a constant quest for perfection, really.

MD: Just on the beer tokens – I’ll get you to confirm this so it isn’t just me saying it – they’ll roll over, won’t they?

RM: Absolutely correct, so if you buy £40 on your payday, and you want to keep them until the next game, absolutely they will be honoured. For us, it is about reducing congestion at the bar, it is about trying to remain affordable, so if someone wants to frontload themselves at the start of the month when they’ve just been paid, they can do that. If you want to buy 6, and you spend 5, you can keep 1 for the next week. It isn’t about making they’re all spent on the day, it is about making sure it is affordable and reducing wait time at the bar.