JD Wetherspoon drops champagne for English sparkling wine

British pub company JD Wetherspoon is to offer more drinks from UK and non-EU producers and brewers across its 880 pubs from July 9 ahead of Brexit.

Wetherspoon will replace champagne with sparkling wines from the UK and serve wheat beers from the UK and US, while continuing to serve Kopparberg cider from Sweden following confirmation it will produce its cider in the UK post-Brexit. 

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “This move helps us to broaden our horizons so that we create an improved offer for the two million customers who visit our pubs each week. 

“It is the start of a review of all products in the next six to 24 months, with the object of making our business more competitive.”

JD Wetherspoon is the largest pub chain in the UK and was founded in 1979 by Martin, who supported the Brexit campaign in 2016.

“The EU’s customs union is 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,”adds Martin. 

“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, with products like champagne. 

“Our biggest bottled cider supplier is the excellent Kopparberg of Sweden. Kopparberg has said that it will transfer production to the UK post-Brexit. 

“In similar situations we will work closely with suppliers of niche products. Brexit will create big marketing opportunities for UK and non-EU producers, which Wetherspoon is keen to encourage. 

“To maximise the opportunities from Brexit the UK must follow free trading nations like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore by ending tariffs. 

“Free trade and the ending of tariffs will reduce prices, boosting living standards and helping business. This will not be possible if we remain in the EU’s customs union.”