Wetherspoon boss removes European wines and beers from pubsBy Lauren Eads
The boss of UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, an outspoken supporter of Brexit, has removed all European wines and beers from its 900 pubs in favour of bottles from the UK, US, Australia and Chile.
Wines from France, Italy and Germany have been removed from its pubs, along with a third of draught beers from the European Union, including Denmark’s Tuborg, Germany’s Erdinger and the Czech Republic’s Staropramen.
An exception to the cull is Belgian lager Stella Artrois, which will remain on draught.
The move follows Martin’s pledge to swap products made in the European Union for those produced outside of the “protectionist” bloc.
Last year, Wetherspoons removed French Moet Champagne and Italian Prosecco and replaced them with sparkling wines from England and Australia.
“Wherever you stand on the Brexit debate, we hope both the Government and consumers will support local brewers, producers and pubs during this time of uncertainty,” said Martin.
“Many of our tax rates for pubs and brewers are actually set at a European level, so we hope the Government will use Britain’s departure from the EU as an opportunity to review that system.
“In particular, we’d like to see a lower rate of tax applied on beer sold on draught rather than in bottles or can, which would help keep prices down at the pub and encourage beer-drinkers to head back to their local.
“We’d also like to see consumers celebrate and support real ales, ciders and perries, which are inherently British products.
“By choosing British beer and looking out for the British hops logo on your pint – which indicates the hops were also sourced in Britain – beer drinkers can actively support businesses close to home.”
Martin has been a vocal supporter of a no-deal Brexit, insisting that the UK has nothing to fear from falling back on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which he says would allow Britain to lower prices for consumers by eliminating tariffs on goods produced outside of the UK.
A Wetherspoon spokesman added: “Whether people agree or disagree with Tim’s views, this shows he is a man of his words. This is just the start and over the next two years there will be more drinks available from across the world.”