Justin Hemmes responds to backlash over Allianz Stadium beer prices

·Contributor
·2-min read
Merivale boss Justin Hemmes is pictured left, and fans at the recently unveiled Allianz Stadium are pictured on the right.
Merivale boss Justin Hemmes has faced criticism over the price of food and drinks at the recently unveiled Allianz Stadium. Pictures: Getty Images

In the name of research, I conducted a little beer drinking poll at the four corners of Sydney rugby league heartland to see if fans are truly getting ripped off with the price of a schooner at the new Allianz Stadium.

You see, hospitality tycoon Justin Hemmes and his Merivale Group are in control of the food and beverage packages at the refurbished SFS and perhaps aren’t quite in touch with what NRL supporters are used to paying for their favourite beer.

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A Tooheys New at Allianz will set you back $10.20, which Hemmes claims is only a dollar more expensive than what you pay at your local.

Really?

Receiving some shrapnel from a tenner may be commonplace at the joints Hemmes oversees in the city's trendy east, but does it come close to the mark in rugby league territory?

Out at Panthers Leagues Club – just a couple of Nathan Cleary 40-20s away from where Friday night's massive qualifying final will be played – you can sip on a New for around $6 at the Basement Bar.

Fuel up before kick-off – between 3-6pm – and it will only cost you $4, with a free sausage sanga throw in if you're rocking high vis work gear.

Down at Northies, which calls itself 'the honorary home of the Sharkies', $7 will get you a schooey of Tooheys' finest.

Catch the ferry over to Manly and walk up the Corso to the New Brighton Hotel and you’ll drop $7, while it’s 50c more expensive at Paddington's Olympic Hotel, just across the road from where they hold you hostage at Allianz.

Still, Hemmes insists fans are not being ripped off.

"It’s a completely different cost structure. It's like comparing the price of beer in Thailand to the price of beer in Australia," he told Radio 2GB.

"It’s not exorbitant (at Allianz). Our Tooheys New is a dollar more than what you get in the pubs. That is very fair.

"There is a full range of options. You can go in with varying budgets and have a fantastic time with a great product, a great quality beer, great food, great service in a world class stadium.

"We can’t lose money and at the moment we don't even break even. The operator needs to at least break even."

Even if the rest of us go broke.

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