- Pub group JD Wetherspoon said it will stop serving Jägermeister and French brandies Courvoisier VS and Hennessy Fine de Cognac.
- The drinks will be replaced by US and Australian brandies, and a British liqueur.
- Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin, a supporter of Brexit fan, said the move is about offering more choice and better value to customers.
- It is not, he said, not due to concerns about the certainty of supply after Britain leaves the EU.
LONDON – British pub group JD Wetherspoon has announced plans to cut back on serving European alcohol ahead of Brexit, and says it will instead serve replacement drinks from markets like the US and Australia.
Wetherspoon, which operates around 1,000 pubs across the UK and Ireland, said on Wednesday that it will stop selling German liqueur Jägermeister, and French brandies Courvoisier VS and Hennessy Fine de Cognac at its pubs from September.
Pubs will instead serve US and Australian brandies, and a British herbal liqueur, as replacements. The company said it has already replaced French Champagne with English and Australian sparkling wines at its pubs and stopped selling German wheat beers.
Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin is a vocal Brexit supporter who campaigned to leave in the 2016 referendum. He said in a statement on Wednesday: “Many commentators talk of a ‘cliff-edge’ if the UK ‘crashes out’ of the EU without a deal. In reality, there is no cliff-edge, only sunlit uplands beyond the EU’s protectionist system of quotas and tariffs.
“All EU products have UK or non-EU replacements, often at equal or better quality and price. It’s important to remember that 93% of the world is outside the EU.”
The move by the pub group comes amid growing concerns about what will happen to supply chains across the economy in the event of a so-called “no deal” Brexit. Britain is due to officially leave the EU in March 2019 but has so far made little concrete progress on striking a deal for its future trading relationship with the EU.
If Britain falls out of the EU without a deal, there are concerns that supplies of everything from medicine to car parts could be disrupted. The CEO of Jaguar Land Rover said in a speech on Tuesday that no deal would mean “bluntly, we will not be able to build cars” in the UK.
Wetherspoon did not give an explicit reason for why it was replacing European beverages with those from UK and non-EU countries but said the move was “in the run-up to Brexit.”
Martin said in the announcement: “We will continue to review all products over the next 24 months, with the object of making the business more competitive and offering the best choice and value for customers.”