The Pro-Brexit Wetherspoons Founder Just Threatened to Stop Selling European Beer
Could this be the last round of Carlsberg at the local Spoons?
Photo via Flickr user Jeremy Brooks
Theresa May may be battling with the High Courts to push her Brexit plans through, but the chairman of nationwide pub chat JD Wetherspoon is locked in his own battle with Europe. And it's about moderately priced cider.
Tim Martin has accused EU leaders including Jean-Claude Juncker and Angela Merkel of pressuring European firms to be hostile towards British trading partners.
In a Wetherspoons trading update, Martin said: "According to press reports, Juncker told European business leaders in October not to negotiate with UK companies and to adopt an intransigent attitude. I would not advise any EU companies to follow that advice."
According to Martin, the UK is "in a much more powerful position than most economists would assume." He is threatening to stop selling European drink brands unless EU leaders end this "bullying" of British businesses.
Martin explained: "I don't think Wetherspoon or British buyers are in a weak position because we can switch from Swedish cider to British cider. So the people put in a weak position are the sellers and I think that is the paradox that has not been illustrated."
European drink brands currently sold by Wetherspoons franchises include Belvedere vodka from Poland and Italian Prosecco brand Teresa Rizzi, as well as Danish lagers like Carlsberg and Tuborg, Heineken from Holland, and Stella Artois, which is from Belgium.
This is far from being the first time the Wetherspoons founder has come to blows with Europe. Martin staged his own pro-Brexit campaign before the vote, instilling 200,000 beer mats emblazoned with anti-EU messages at Wetherspoons pubs across the country. The £18.8 million his 30 percent stake in the pub chain lost following the referendum results has obviously done nothing to deter his euroskepticism.
But with this morning's Brexit-stalling High Court verdict ruling that British Parliament must take a vote on whether to start the process of leaving the EU, Martin may have more pressing issues to deal with. Now, where did those beer mats go?