U.S. Markets closed

Pro-Brexit Wetherspoons chief introduces ‘friendship’ discounts on European drinks to celebrate leaving EU

Samuel Lovett

Wetherspoons is cutting the price of a number of European drinks to mark Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, with chairman Tim Martin “keen to celebrate Brexit” and move on from recent “political posturing”.

Mr Martin has been one of the few business leaders to vocally back leaving the EU. He spent £94,856 on pro-Brexit beer mats and has regularly used the pub group’s magazine to promote the benefits of leaving.

“Many of our customers are keen to celebrate Brexit,” he said.

“At the same time we want to remain friends with our European neighbours and offer a range of drinks at an excellent price.”

Last January, Wetherspoons removed a range of European wines and beers from its menu, vowing to swap them for drinks made outside the “protectionist” bloc.

The pub chain’s “Let’s stay friends” promotion offers customers around 60p off 10 drinks that originate from Europe and the UK, including ​Estrella Galicia (Spain), Beck’s (Germany), Peroni (Italy) and Tyskie (Poland) and Jameson Irish Whiskey.

“In my opinion, there has been far too much political posturing in negotiations between the UK and the EU up until now," Mr Martin said.

“Let’s stay friends and enjoy free trade."

Mr Martin pulled a similar stunt last September, cutting the price of a pint of beer by 20p in an attempt to show how he believed prices would fall after Brexit.

The 64-year-old said the move illustrated the UK leaving the customs union would not be a “disaster”.

At the time, he outlined his desire to cut prices on a variety of lagers, spirits and wines in the wake of Brexit. He said that neither suppliers, nor employees, some of whom have complained of earning poverty wages, would suffer as a result.

“We think we’ll be able to maintain our operating margin and reduce prices to customers,” Mr Martin said.

However, commentators were quick to point out that Wetherspoons was able to charge customers less as the UK was still in the EU.

The “Let’s stay friends” promotion follows a successful couple of months for Mr Martin and his company.

After shareholders threw their weight behind the founding chairman in November, despite a furious row over corporate governance, Mr Martin emerged £44m richer in the wake of last month’s general election result.

The Brexit supporter saw the value of his stake in the pub chain jump almost 10 per cent from £487m to £531m, with Wetherspoon shares rising from 1,482p to 1,619p.

Read more

I work at Wetherspoons and Tim Martin’s Brexit bleating is maddening