Brexit-backing Wetherspoons boss makes major change to chain’s drinks menu

Wetherspoons has called time on European wines on the orders of the pub chain’s Brexit backing boss.

The Pro-Leave campaign chairman Tim Martin has delivered on his promise to sell more ditch drinks from the UK and outside the EU as Britain prepares to go break away in March.

It means lovers of French, Italian and German wines will have to drink elsewhere to enjoy their favourite tipple.

The Brexit vote has burst the bubble for all European wines and fizz previously stocked across the chain’s 900 pubs, replaced by bottles from the USA, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Argentina.

A third of EU beers from the draught selection have been culled with Germany’s Erdinger, Denmark’s Tuborg and the Czech Republic’s Staropramen shown the door.

Bolla Pinot Grigio and Freixenet, both from Italy, Faustino VII Rioja made in Spain have been culled.

They have been replaced by Australian brand Hardys and American Coldwater Creek who have four wines each, along with Villa Maria, made in New Zealand, Casillero del Diablo produced in Chile and Trivento Malbec, made in Argentina.

The wines and beers join a list of EU booze barred from the chain – last year Wetherspoons stopped stocking Moet champagne and Italian prosecco.

They have been replaced by sparkling wines from Australia and England.

Mr Martin also stopped stocking Jagermeister from Germany last year, which was replaced by an English version called Strika – with the ‘Jagerbombs’ dubbed ‘Brexit Bombs’ by customers.

But Mr Martin has not yet been able to bar all European beers, with some, including Belgian favourite Stella Artois remain widely available.

Multi millionaire founder Mr Martin, 63, a fierce critic of the EU, distributed 500,000 beer mats calling for the UK to quit before the 2016 vote.

He believes the UK will flourish with or without an EU trade deal after the country leaves.

Wetherspoon customers have accepted the changes.

Pensioner Peter Banks, 85, of Lewisham, south London, said: “I have noticed a change in the beers but if anything the beers have improved, but I do think they should have just left everything the way it was before.”

Helen Adams, 37, of Croydon, said: “It doesn’t matter to me but if every business was to stop selling beers and wines from the EU everyone in the UK would miss out.”

Tom Stainer, of the Campaign for Real Ale, says the wider beer industry needs to consider its post-Brexit future and called for the Government and customers to back British beer.

He said: “Wherever you stand on the Brexit debate, we hope both the Government and consumers will support local brewers, producers and pubs during this time of uncertainty.

“Many of our tax rates for pubs and brewers are actually set at a European level, so we hope the Government will use Britain’s departure from the EU as an opportunity to review that system.

“In particular, we’d like to see a lower rate of tax applied on beer sold on draught rather than in bottles or can, which would help keep prices down at the pub and encourage beer-drinkers to head back to their local.

“We’d also like to see consumers celebrate and support real ales, ciders and perries, which are inherently British products.

“By choosing British beer and looking out for the British hops logo on your pint – which indicates the hops were also sourced in Britain – beer drinkers can actively support businesses close to home.”

A Wetherspoon spokesman said: “Whether people agree or disagree with Tim’s views, this shows he is a man of his words.

"This is just the start and over the next two years there will be more drinks available from across the world.”

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