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Wetherspoon pulls Heineken from UK pubs

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has pulled all Heineken products from its 926 pubs in the UK after a row over supply to a single pub in Ireland.

According to JD Wetherspoon, Heineken had refused to supply Heineken and Murphy’s Stout to its second Irish pub due to open in Dun Laoghaire.

The Dutch company was said to be concerned that the pub chain was selling pints of its lager and Murphy’s Stout for less than €3 – 40% less than than its competition – at its first Irish pub in Blackrock, Dublin.

Wetherspoon meanwhile has claimed Heineken requested its chief executive John Hutson give the company personal guarantees to pay all of its bills if the pub chain did not pay them.

In response Wetherspoon not only pulled the two beers in dispute from its UK pubs, but all of Heineken’s brands.

That means Strongbow cider, John Smith’s bitter and Foster’s lager are also off Wetherspoon’s UK menu.

In a statement released today, JD Wetherspoon announced it is “no longer trading with a major supplier, Heineken, at any of its 926 pubs in the UK and Republic of Ireland”, over its refusal to supply Heineken lager and Murphy’s stout to its new pub in Dun Laoghaire.

Tim Martin, Wetherspoon chairman, said: “We have been trading with Heineken for 35 years and they have never requested personal guarantees before. It’s obstructive to do so now, especially when we made record profits of around £80 million last year. The refusal to supply Heineken lager and Murphy’s just before the opening of our new pub in Dun Laoghaire, which represents an investment by us of nearly four million Euros,  is unacceptable and hard to understand.”

Heineken meanwhile has said it was seeking a resolution “as soon as possible”.

In a statement the brewer said: “Heineken UK has had a long standing and successful relationship with JDW in the UK market over a 35-year period, and it is unfortunate that commercial issues in Ireland between Heineken Ireland and JD Wetherspoon have led to the current situation. We are seeking a resolution as soon as possible.”

JD Wetherspoon last year revealed plans to open around 30 pubs in the Republic of Ireland.

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