Supply chain · 13 June 2018

Wetherspoons swaps EU suppliers for British businesses and starts by getting rid of Champagne

Trinity Square Wetherspoons on Tower Hill.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has said it will remove champagne from their menu and implement British sparkling wines in July.

The chain which sells just short of 100,000 bottles of champagne a year is set to replace them with non-EU supplied sparkling wine.

The substitutes for champagne will come from the Denbies vineyard and Hardys Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay from Australia.

‘Spoons founder and Brexiteer, Tim Martin, said it was part of a transition away from products made in the EU.

Martin has said that this change will introduce a cheaper drinks menu than before.

Commenting on this, Martin said: “There will be an inevitable transfer of trade post-Brexit to countries outside the EU, which will reduce prices in shops and pubs.

“The products we are now introducing are at lower prices than the EU products they are replacing.”

“Champagne has lost market share to lower price sparkling wines,” Martin said.

Wetherspoon sells two million bottles of sparkling wine annually.

Regarding ongoing contracts with EU suppliers, he added: “We intend to honour existing contracts with EU suppliers, some of which have several years to run.

“However, we are starting to make the transition to non-EU trade now.”

Martin also labelled the EU customs union “a protectionist system which is widely misunderstood”.

“It imposes tariffs on the 93% of the world that is not in the EU, keeping prices high for UK consumers.

“Tariffs are imposed on wine from Australia, New Zealand and the US, and also on coffee, oranges, rice and more than 12,000 other products,” he said.

Wheat beer and alcohol-free beer from the UK will also substitute the current beers brewed in Germany.

Wetherspoon said its new wheat beers brewed in the UK will include Blue Moon Belgian White, Thornbridge Versa Weisse Beer and SA Brains Atlantic White.

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

Martin said: “Wetherspoon will continue to serve Kopparberg cider from Sweden, as the company has said it will transfer production to the UK post-Brexit. “In similar situations we will work closely with suppliers of niche products.”

The pubs sell 6 million bottles of Kopparberg each year.

The UK’s trusty favourite pub chain welcomes over two million customers through its near 1,000 pubs nationwide.

When approached, director of the Champagne Bureau UK, Francoise Peretti claimed that he was “unconcerned by the decision”.

Peretti added: “It seems to be economically driven, combined with Mr Martin’s strong expressed feeling about European products,” said Francoise Peretti, director of the Champagne Bureau UK.

“UK consumers have clearly voted it [champagne] its sparkling wine of choice, making the UK the leading export market for champagne.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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