Wetherspoon to stop selling Champagne in run up to Brexit

Marco Green
June 14, 2018

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon (JDW.L), run by one of Brexit's most fervent supporters, will sell more British and non-European drinks, shunning French champagne and offering British and American beer instead of German brews.

Drinks industry website Imbibe reported in March that champagne sales to the United Kingdom have slumped for the second year in a row, as the falling value of the pound makes imported wines less attractive to British pubs and bars.

Founder and vocal Brexit supporter Tim Martin said that the move to non-EU suppliers would help to make prices lower in the long run, if the United Kingdom ends tariffs once it has left the customs union.

"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 drinks boss said it makes sense to invest in United Kingdom drinks products now because of the EU's "protectionist" tariff systems, which he claims are "widely misunderstood".

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

'We intend to honour existing contracts with European Union suppliers, some of which have several years to run. Most of our media is owned by a handful of offshore billionaires with personal agendas.

Kopparberg, a popular cider made in Sweden, will still be stocked because production is moving to Britain after Brexit.

It is switching from a range of drinks including Champagne and wheat beers, which are produced in France and Germany, with sparkling wines from the United Kingdom, such as Denbies Sparkling Whitedowns Brut and Whitedowns Rose Brut, and British wheat beers, such as Blue Moon Belgian White and SA Brains Atlantic White.

Wetherspoon to stop selling champagne ahead of Brexit
Wetherspoon to stop selling French champagne and German beer in run-up to Brexit

Austrlian Hardys Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay will also appear on the menu.

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

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

Martin has previously argued that if the United Kingdom ends tariffs and agrees to unilateral free trade, Wetherspoon's pints could be made cheaper.

Martin said the chain is likely to make further investment in non-EU products once the United Kingdom reaches its Brexit cut-off date on 29 March, but European beers, wines and spirits won't disappear from the menu altogether, or at least not yet.

Just a fortnight ago the vocal chairman told Theresa May to be bolder in her Brexit demands.

So probably good news if you're a UK-based craft beer producer, or your dad's got a vineyard in Dorset. A "no-deal" alternative would leave the United Kingdom much better off than it is today'.

Tim insisted British and non-EU products would be cheaper for punters.

He added the government should also cancel the £39billion Brexit bill, which he dubbed a "leaving gift", and invest the money on local projects.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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