JD Wetherspoon to resume selling Fosters and Kronenbourg 1664

The pub chain is attempting a large expansion in Ireland

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The JD Wetherspoon pub chain will resume selling Fosters and Kronenbourg again in its 926 pubs after reaching a compromise with multinational superbrewer Heineken over pricing in Ireland. However, Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin is still in a position of trying to set up a 30-strong chain of Irish pubs without being able to sell either of the country's most famous brews - Guinness and Murphy's stout.

Mr Martin last month axed his supply contracts with Heineken across his entire estate of pubs in the UK because it refused to grant him cheap enough prices for its beers - notably Murphy's - in his nascent Irish business.

This followed a similar row with Diageo - still ongoing - over the price of Guinness in Ireland, although in that case, he did not pull Diageo's products across his UK pubs.

However, under today's deal, while Wetherspoon and Heineken reached an agreement over Irish prices of Fosters, Beamish and Symonds Cider, Mr Martin will still not be able to serve Murphy's.

The Heineken lager brand will also not be available for Irish drinkers.

So far, Wetherspoon has only opened two pubs in Ireland, but plans to have a 30-strong chain, investing more than e50m in the country.

Its rows with Diageo and Heineken apparently show the multinational brewers flexing their muscles to retain their pricing power in a country which has never seen a pub chain big enough to hold any clout against them before.

Wetherspoon was hailing the Heineken announcement as a success, stressing that the three brands on which it had reached agreement would be sold at comparable low prices to its other beers in Ireland.

For British drinkers, the deal means Wetherspoon will resume selling Heineken, Fosters, Kronenbourg, Strongbow, John Smith's Extra Smooth and Amstel.