EDINBURGH (Reuters) – 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.
Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin, who campaigned in favour of Britain’s exit from the European Union, said the move was part of a push to make the group more competitive ahead of the country’s planned departure from the EU’s customs union.
“The EU’s customs union is a protectionist system which is widely misunderstood,” Martin said. “It imposes tariffs on the 93 percent of the world that is not in the EU, keeping prices high for UK consumers.”
Major British employers groups have urged the government to remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit, warning of the risk of tariffs and border delays in their trade with the bloc if they are outside the common external tariff area.
Wetherspoon will replace champagne with sparkling wines from the UK and others from Australia, and will serve wheat beers from Britain and the United States.
The change will affect 800 pubs from July 9.
Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; Editing by William Schomberg