Patriotic Wetherspoon ditches booze from EU
PUB chain Wetherspoon is to stop selling wine and beer from France and Germany ahead of Brexit.
It will focus on offering more beverages from UK and non-EU producers across its 880 pubs from July 9.
Champagne and German wheat beers will be switched for English sparkling wine and craft beers in the run-up to leaving the EU.
But Kopparberg cider, which is currently made in Sweden, will stay stocked after the Swedish firm said it will switch production to the UK. Drinkers will also still be able to order Italian prosecco – at least for now.
JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: ‘This is the start of a review of all products in the next six to 24 months, with the object of making our business more competitive.’
He said tariffs imposed by the ‘protectionist’ EU were keeping prices high for UK consumers.
Some 2million people visit Wetherspoon pubs every week.
The group sells more than 6million bottles of Kopparberg and 2million bottles of sparkling wine and prosecco every year, but fewer than 100,000 bottles of champagne are bought at its pubs.
In place of French fizz, the pubs will offer UK sparkling wine brands Denbies and Whitedowns as well as Australian Hardys wines. Meanwhile UKbrewed wheat beers Blue Moon Belgian White, Thornbridge Versa Weisse and SA Brains Atlantic White will replace German brands such as Erdinger.
Russ Mould, investment director at savings firm AJ Bell, said: ‘Tim Martin’s strong held politithink cal views are well known and you have to respect anyone’s ability to stick to their principles so firmly.
‘Excluding popular brands of drinks based on their country of origin seems like an unusual move for a firm which you would wants to be seen as inclusive and welcoming to customers of all views and beliefs, but Mr Martin knows his customers and has successfully built the firm by providing value for money.’
Mr Martin said Brexit would create big marketing opportunities for UK and non-EU producers, which the pub group is keen to encourage.
The Wetherspoon chairman added: ‘The products we are introducing are at lower prices than the EU products they are replacing.
‘We intend to honour existing contracts with EU suppliers, some of which have several years to run, but we are starting to make the transition to non-EU trade now.’
‘Providing value for money’
Last orders: Chairman Tim Martin