Cricket writer Peter Lalor has been charged £55,000 for a single ale in a British hotel bar – calling it “the most expensive beer in history”.
Lalor was staying in a branch of Malmaison in Manchester ahead of the fourth Ashes Test when he bought a bottle of Deuchars IPA at the hotel bar.
The drink was supposed to cost £5.50 ($9.90), but when he came to pay, it became apparent that something was not quite right.
“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,” Lalor wrote on Twitter.
“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.”
Lalor, who writes cricket for The Australian and is also the paper’s “beer editor”, said nobody got in touch with him about the mistake. He did not realise exactly how much had been taken from his account until he got a call from his wife.
“The sum of $99,983.64 had been removed from our account,” he said.
“There’d been a transaction fee of $2499.59 to add to the pain. The fee has been refunded but not the larger amount.”
See this beer? That is the most expensive beer in history.
I paid $99,983.64 for it in the Malmaison Hotel, Manchester the other night.
— Peter Lalor (@plalor) September 5, 2019
Lalor said it was “baffling” that the transaction had gone through “unquestioned”. He has been promised a refund – but that’s going to take nine working days, and “in the meantime, there’s a massive hole in my finances”.
About 90 minutes after he tweeted about the expensive ale, Lalor said the hotel had been in touch and was “being very helpful now”.
“We are currently carrying out an investigation,” a Malmaison spokesperson said.
“We have been in contact with Peter to apologise and ensure this has been resolved as quickly as possible.”
Lalor said Australians generally found Britain expensive, “but this takes the cake”.
“I’m just a cricket writer, I don’t earn big bucks and it’s costing me in interest,” he told the BBC.
But the beer – while it might not have been worth the hefty price – was at least a good tipple.
“It’s a good beer,” Lalor tweeted later. “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, then I am inclined to agree with you.”
A credit card company spokesman said the “unusual” case showed how important it was to check details of payments and receipts.