Wetherspoons goes political by limiting choice to customers
Founder and Chairman Tim Martin made a big splash in the news this week for dropping many European wines and beers at the company, for UK and non-EU wines and beers. Tim claimed in the Drinks Business magazine this week, it makes sense to invest in UK drinks products now because of the EU’s “protectionist” tariff systems, which he claims are “widely misunderstood”.
However a closer looks shows how empty his statements are. For example Wetherspoons is to stop selling Champagne and replace it with an Australian sparkling wine that is cheaper. But given that the pub chain sells two million bottles of bubbly every year of which 90% is EU based Prosecco, which they are not dropping, it appears that Tim is more about grabbing headlines than making a stand.
The EU tariff on a typical bottle of wine is around 10p, almost nothing compared to the government's £2.16 duty, or the mark up Wetherspoons puts on the wine.
But according to Tim the EU,
“ .. imposes tariffs on the 93 per cent of the world that is not in the EU, keeping prices high for UK consumers.”
“Tariffs are imposed on wine from Australia, New Zealand and the US, and on more than 12,000 other products.
“The products we are now introducing are at lower prices than the EU products they are replacing.”