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Food by VICE

Aussie Sportswriter Charged $68,000 for Single Beer at Hotel Bar

After consulting with the bar manager, Peter Lalor ended up with a bottle of Deuchars—a Scottish IPA—and one of the most expensive tabs ever.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Sep 6 2019, 7:49pm

Photo: Getty Images

In July, a Las Vegas hotel flexed hard on Iggy Azalea, charging her just over $64 for a room service grilled cheese, which included an extra 10 bucks on the bill for a knife and fork that she didn't even need. In a series of tweets, she considered all the ways she could get back at the unnamed resort, including reporting her credit card stolen, zipping that silverware in her suitcase, and trying to sell their ice bucket online. "We love scammers!" she wrote.

But Iggy's half-a-Benjamin sandwich seems almost cute compared to what just happened to an Australian sportswriter while he was drinking in a Manchester, England hotel. Peter Lalor, who covers cricket and beer for The Australian, said that he asked the bartender at the Malmaison for a brew that wasn't "an American craft beer or a Eurolager." After he consulted with the bar manager, he ended up with a bottle of Deuchars, a Scottish IPA, and he also ended up with a tab that might be one of the most expensive of all time, ever.

In a series of tweets, Lalor said that he didn't have his glasses on when he settled up, and since the bar manager said she was having problems with the payment system, he didn't want to stick around for a receipt. "Something, however, made me ask 'how much did I just pay for that beer,'" he wrote. "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. I insisted."

Lalor didn't find out exactly how jaw-droppingly bad that mistake was until his bank let him know that $68,533.43 (AU $99,983.64) had been deducted from his account, and he'd also been docked a transaction fee of $1,714.40 (AU $2,499.59). The smaller amount has already been refunded, but he says that it'll be another nine days before he gets the rest of his money back. (And yeah, we all see you, Mr. I Have $68Gs in My Bank Account.)

"It’s a good beer," he said of his high-dollar IPA. "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 A$100,000, then I am inclined to agree with you."

A spokesperson for the Malmaison told the Manchester Evening News that the hotel had reached out to Lalor to apologize, and that it was currently investigating to find out how he ended up paying $68,533—more than the base price of a Porsche Cayenne—for a single beer.

Not counting the Malmaison's mistake, the most expensive brew in the United Kingdom is AleSmith Brewing Company's 12% ABV Speedway Stout, which goes for £22.50 (US$27.66) a pint. Huh. Can we trade you half a hotel grilled cheese for it?