Two of Britain’s biggest pub companies are passing on rises in the cost of beer to punters at more than 11,000 boozers.

Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns, which own a fifth of pubs across Britain, blame rising wholesale costs of beer.

Enterprise Inns blamed higher bills from Coors and Carlsberg for its average 5 per cent beer price hikes.

Pub landlords will now pay £151.76 for an 11 gallon keg of Carling. In 2007 it cost £108.11.

Meanwhile, Punch Taverns will hike its prices by up to 12 per cent from February 20.

A 22 gallon keg of Tennent’s is jumping by £24 to £214.95, and a 36 gallon keg of Carlsberg by 3.4 per cent.

Wholesale beer vendor, Diageo, has put up the price of draught Guinness by 5 per cent, and the cost of Wells and Young’s brewed beers have gone up by 4.9 per cent.

One stunned pub tenant said: “Each year they’re trying to snatch a bit more from us. Remember this is before the Budget, so they’ll put prices up again then.”

Another said: “I’ll have to put prices up by 10p to 15p to cover this. It will put a pint of Carling at £3.80. Where I am that’s unheard of.”

Landlords sign into a contract with Enterprise and Punch, and are fined if they buy beer wholesale.

According to the British Beer and Pub Association, the average price of a pint of lager was £2.69 last year – compared with £1.78 in 2000. It blames tax hikes.

Enterprise said yesterday it does not discuss “private and confidential matters”.

A Punch Taverns spokeswoman declined to comment.