Record low beer prices being offered by the major multiples will damage the independent retail sector, wholesalers have warned.

A poll of senior wholesalers for this week’s Reader Panel in The Grocer unanimously condemned the beer price war between the multiples.

One warned: “Our beer prices are lower than last Christmas, some at our lowest price ever, and yet do not touch the Supermarket activity.

“Generally, the independent sector is accused of being ill-disciplined, but in reality it is the ill discipline of this type of pricing that creates many of the industry’s problems.”

A slim majority also thought the price cuts were being funded by the brewers, although several believed the multiples were also using beer as a loss leader. Ominously for the brewers, every respondent said they would be calling in the brewers to discuss the situation.