Pub landlord outraged as Marston’s drops ‘English’ branding from Bombardier

A pub landlord said he refuses to adopt the new marketing material for Bombardier beer after the brewing company which owns it dropped any mention of the word “English” from its branding.

Marston’s has removed references to Englishness from its Bombardier beer. (Photo: Rawdonfox/Flickr)

Kevin Costello, who runs The Haywain in Bramling, Canterbury, said that selling it with the new, de-anglicised labelling, pump clips and glassware would put customers off the beer, which he claims is his best-seller.

Bombardier — a 4.1% cask beer — has long been sold as “the beer of England” by drinks maker Charles Wells, but the labelling changed when the company was acquired by beer giant Marston’s last year in a deal worth £55m.

The deal also saw Eagle Brewery — which produces Bombardier — open to the public on a regular basis for the first time in January.

As well as removing references to the beer being “English”, Marston’s has also dropped the St George’s flag from its marketing.

Instead, the drink is now sold as a “British Amber Beer.”

Costello told Kent Online the change of wording is “horrendous,” suggesting Bombardier now looks more like an “imperial German beer.”

“Bombardier always used to have big campaigns around St George’s Day and things like that – it was all about being English,” he said.

“If Bombardier was a Welsh or Scottish beer, I bet it wouldn’t have changed. It’s like Englishness doesn’t matter any more.”

Costello said he sells around five barrells of the beer per week, but worried that the new look will affect its popularity with locals.

“I’m refusing to use it because I’d lose business. I’m using the original signage that calls it an English beer. I’ve shown the branding to all of my customers and they hate it.”

“If I went into another pub and I saw this branding on the pump, I would not buy Bombardier. I’d get something else.”

A spokesperson told Kent Online that Marston’s chose to rebrand the beer last year to keep its marketing “fresh”. the drinks business has reached out for further comment.

Though Bombardier is perhaps one of Marston’s best-known products, the brewer said that craft drinks and “local beers” are proving increasingly popular with consumers, and contributed to a 1.6% rise in like-for-like sales at its taverns in its most recent financial statement.

5 Responses to “Pub landlord outraged as Marston’s drops ‘English’ branding from Bombardier”

  1. Peter says:

    “keep its marketing “fresh”” my A**e, just another large supposedly British company running scared of the permanently offended brigade

  2. Martin Skellum says:

    As the old saying goes if it’s not broke don’t fix it. I have always enjoyed a drop of English Ale, nothing like it in the world and when ordering my pint of Bombardier it always gave me a sense of pride in the Englishness of the logo on the pump clip, I don’t feel that any more. The new labelling no longer looks English it looks European, its no longer stands out on the bar it just blends in with the other labels. Bring back the original branding and show that Bombardier is proud to be an English Beer.

  3. Hal says:

    Agree with the negative comments above. Very disappointed with the “new- look” label. It now looks lie a very cheap lager.
    Proud to be English and great to see the flag.
    Return to the original,well-liked label asap

  4. Alex who is one pissed off drinker says:

    I’m fuming with Marlston over this ! What a fatal error on their behalf.! They have only change the flavour of the beer as well.

    I have drunk Bomb for all my drinking life and I cannot believe what a hash of it they have made ! It looks like a American brand not an English brand.

    It took me a good 10 minutes to locate it on the shelf in Tescos. Even when I did locate the beer. I was still unsure if I had picked up the correct beer. Cannot believe how they have ruined this glorious British beer.

    There is definitely no Bang left in this brand now !!! Its Wychwood all the way now. Where they know their Hertiage and roots !!!

  5. Just got some todayThe drab pump clip does a great job of downgrading the product.Certainly wouldn’t inspire customers to try it when next to other beers.Cask beers need fast turnaround.This branding won’t achieve that.No longer on my hit list

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