Wetherspoon abandons champagne in pre-Brexit switch

Pub chain will sell instead UK and Australian sparkling wine, but Irish pubs not affected

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin is known as an ardent Brexit supporter. Photograph: Reuters

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin is known as an ardent Brexit supporter. Photograph: Reuters

 

Pub chain Wetherspoon will sell more drinks from the UK and non-EU brewers in the run up to Brexit.

Champagne and wheat beers produced in France and Germany will be replaced.

Sparkling wines from the UK and Australia will be substituted for champagne, while more UK wheat beers will be sold.

The switch will affect all Wetherspoon pubs in the UK from July 9th, but the chain’s five outlets in the Republic will continue to serve EU-sourced products as before.

“Since Ireland will remain part of the EU it’s in an entirely different situation,” said Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin, a strong supporter of Brexit.

On the UK shift, he said: “This move helps us to broaden our horizons so that we create an improved offer for the two million customers who visit our pubs each week.

“It is the start of a review all products in the next six to 24 months, with the object of making our business more competitive.

“The EU’s customs union is a protectionist system which is widely misunderstood.

“It imposes tariffs on the 93 per cent of the world that is not in the EU, keeping prices high for UK consumers.

“Tariffs are imposed on wine from Australia, New Zealand and the US, and also on coffee, oranges, rice and more than 12,000 other products.

“There will be an inevitable transfer of trade post-Brexit to countries outside the EU, which will reduce prices in shops and pubs.

“The products we are now 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.

“However, we are starting to make the transition to non-EU trade now.”

Commonwealth bubbles only

Sparkling wines from the UK will include Denbies Sparkling Whitedowns Brut and Whitedowns Rose Brut, as well as Hardys Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay from Australia.

The pubs will also serve wheat beers from the UK — Blue Moon Belgian White, Thornbridge Versa Weisse Beer and SA Brains Atlantic White.

Wetherspoon’s will continue to serve Kopparberg cider from Sweden.

Kopparberg has confirmed that it will be producing its cider in the UK post-Brexit.

Alcohol-free Adnams Ghost Ship will replace Erdinger alcohol-free beer from Germany. – PA