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Cricket writer complains about being charged £55,000 for a bottle of Deuchars 'very English IPA'

An Australian cricket writer has complained on Twitter after he was charged £55,000 for a bottle of Deuchars. 

Published: September 6, 2019
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Peter Lalor, who also doubles as a beer writer, described the bottle of the Scottish beer as "the most expensive beer in history".

The writer was staying in a branch of Malmaison in Manchester ahead of the fourth Ashes Test match when he bought the bottle at the hotel bar.

The Australian journalist was already not happy after having to speak to two members of staff whose knowledge of their beer range was less than up to Mr Lalor's standards.

After settling on the Deuchars, which was supposed to be priced at £5.50, he realised that something was not quite right when he went to pay.

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Writing on Twitter, Mr Lalor said: "I didn't have my reading glasses when she presented me with a bill for the beer and when she had some problems with the machine I didn't think much of it, but it was eventually resolved, I said I didn't want a receipt and she went to leave.

"Something, however, made me ask: 'How much did I just pay for that beer?' She checked, covered her mouth, started to giggle and refused to tell me, saying only there had been a mistake and she would fix it.

"She kept giggling, I told her it needed to be fixed and fixed right now. She ran to get her manager who took the situation far more seriously and went about attempting to arrange a refund. She told me somebody would be in contact."

But Mr Lalor said nobody got in touch with him and he was unaware exactly how much had been taken from the account until he received a call from home.

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"The sum of $99,983.64 (£55,300) had been removed from our account," he said.

"And, there'd been a transaction fee of $2,499.59 (£1,380) to add to the pain. The fee has been refunded but not the larger amount."

Mr Lalor said it was "baffling" that the transaction had been gone through "unquestioned", and while he had been promised a refund in nine working days "in the meantime there's a massive hole in my finances".

Around an hour and a half after tweeting about the incident, Mr Lalor said the hotel had been in touch and were "being very helpful now".

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A Malmaison spokesperson told PA news agency: "We are currently carrying out an investigation into what took place. We have been in contact with Peter to apologise and ensure this has been resolved as quickly as possible."

As for the beer itself - which the beer expert wrongly identified as English - that at least was a success.

"It's a good beer," Mr Lalor tweeted. "The original version of it won a heap of awards, including the Supreme Champion Beer of Britain, but if you are thinking that no beer is worth the best part of 100,000 dollars, then I am inclined to agree with you."

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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