Is this a glimpse of life in Britain post-Brexit? J D Wetherspoon is one of our most successful pub chains with two million customers a week, and its charismatic chairman Tim Martin is an outspoken and enthusiastic supporter of the Leave campaign. Now he’s putting money where his mouth is, by announcing that from next month, his 880 hostelries will focus on booze that’s made in Britain.
Wetherspoons is the pub of choice for the cut-price drinker, so it’s hard to guess how Martin’s plan to switch from French champagne to sparkling British and Australian wine will affect the more discerning customers. Kopparberg Swedish cider will continue to be sold, but only because the company plan to switch production to the UK. German beers will be replaced by British-brewed craft beers.
According to Martin, within two years, the company will have completely dumped products from the “protectionist” EU, because tariffs make them too expensive for his clientele.
Stocking a bar based on country of origin rather than quality or taste is a novel concept and not one that you read about in the wine and beverage columns of middle-class newspapers. While I applaud Tim Martin for his singleminded approach to business, he is aiming at customers who care more about price than vintage. What’s next for this patriotic business owner – will he insist that only British football games are shown in his bars?
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