Before the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, there was no more vocal champion for the out campaign within the business community that Tim Martin, who runs the J D Wetherspoon pub chain, known for its rock-bottom prices, wide range of beer, wines, spirits and food, tightness with wages, and permanent staff shortage which entails having to sup rapidly before spending far too long queuing for a refill.
Tim Martin - facing a proper haircut
Brexit was going to be such a wonderful thing, he told anyone prepared to listen. So now that he’s finding the going less than amenable, he’s moaning and blaming someone else, as the Guardian has told: “The chairman of JD Wetherspoon has fired a warning shot that the pub chain could stop selling drinks brands from other European countries if senior EU leaders maintain a ‘bullying’ approach to Brexit negotiations”.
Like, er, what? “I don’t think Wetherspoon or British buyers are in a weak position because we can switch from Swedish cider to British cider”. Who is this Swedish cider? Does he mean Rekorderlig or Kopparberg? Because if he knew what he was talking about, he would know that THEY ARE NOT CIDER. They are, as Pete Brown pointed out some time back, alcopops. Boss of pub chain doesn’t know what he’s selling no shock horror.
But on he blusters: “If we, and companies like ours, are unable to agree on tariff-free transactions, it will inevitably result in a loss of business for European companies … The ultimate sanction will be in the hands of UK consumers, should they take offence at the hectoring and bullying approach of Juncker and co. French wine, champagne and spirits, German beer and Swedish cider, for example, are all at extreme risk”.
Well, whoopee-do. Quite apart from Martin’s assertion that “According to press reports, Juncker told European business leaders in October not to negotiate with UK companies and to adopt an intransigent attitude” - in other words, he couldn’t be arsed finding out himself - he cannot be so stupid as not to know that many of his customers drink by brand, which means if they can’t get Becks or Stella, they’ll go somewhere they can.
Real and craft ale drinkers are more likely to take a punt on something different, but even then, Martin’s problem with rising costs has stuff all to do with rotten Eurocrats, and everything to do with the tanking currency, along with all the imported ingredients, even for beer that is brewed in the UK. He has Shipyard Pale from Portland, Maine brewed in Britain under licence. But where does he imagine the hops come from?
More and more cask and craft beers use American and even southern hemisphere hops. Their cost is rising twofold: demand for beers brewed using them, and the fall in Sterling. More malt comes from outside Britain. The same problem will affect any wine he substitutes for French produce. German-style beer means eastern European hops, and the same problem. Martin blaming the EU is just aimless whataboutery.
Tim Martin is full of wind and piss. So no change there, then.
I'm glad the penny has dropped that Brexit may not be what he wants - which appears to be all the benefits without what he considers the downsides.
The problem with people like him is there will always be an issue with the EU, or any other organisation which appears to get in the way of what they want to achieve, which often comes at a cost to someone else.
It's "spoilt child" syndrome - kick and scream to get what you want, rather than having the maturity or knowledge to understand the bigger picture and work the system to your advantage.
All this does it shows him to be not a very bright individual.
I've also red the cider link and agree that just like Scotch Whisky has to meet certain criteria to achieve the status, so should cider and perry. If it's not made form pressed apples or pears it isn't cider or perry.
Or possibly it's a distraction tactic. Over the past year the pubs have changed, many have been sold off and the menu is lighter than previously with fewer offers. Having to pay the staff properly is undermining the business model and giving local independents more chance to compete. At one point his blog had one post saying how essential it was that decisions be made by UK government not EU - followed by a post about why the UK government decision on living wage was so bad! Wetherspoons is no longer the bargain it used to be and the punters will slowly begin to wonder why they keep going back. When the full effects of Brexit bite and money becomes tight Wetherspoons will be hit whatever they sell - and the shareholders may start asking difficult questions.
Just found out one of our local Wetherspoons is currently for sale.
You can see why he is bleating - but its closure is no doubt everyone's fault but his own.
He's going to lose a lot of custom when he bans the Guinness.
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