Pro-Brexit British pub chain to drop French Champagne

The popular British pub chain JD Wetherspoon, whose founder is a staunch supporter of Brexit, has said it will stop selling French champagne in favour of sparkling wines that aren't made in the European Union.

Pro-Brexit British pub chain to drop French Champagne
Chairman of Wetherspoons pub chain, Tim Martin. Photo: AFP
As of next month, punters at the 800 Wetherspoons pubs won't be able to get their hands on a bottle of French Champagne or prosecco from Italy, the company has revealed. 
The decision is all part of its move to stop selling products made in the EU said the company's founder Tim Martin. 
At the moment the pub chain, known for its cheap beer and cheap food sells two million bottles of sparkling wine every year — mostly prosecco — and is planning to switch up its stock to sell alternatives from the UK, Australia and New Zealand over the next couple of years. 
Photo: AFP
Similarly the company is planning to swap its current offering of beers from Germany with beers brewed in the UK, with Martin saying that its new selection of non-EU alcohols would be cheaper. 
“There will be an inevitable transfer of trade post-Brexit to countries outside the EU, which will reduce prices in shops and pubs,” he said.
However the French champagne industry seemed unconcerned by the news. 
“It seems to be economically driven, combined with Mr Martin's strong expressed feeling about European products,” Francoise Peretti, director of the Champange Bureau UK told the BBC.
“UK consumers have clearly voted it [champagne] its sparkling wine of choice, making the UK the leading export market for champagne,” Mr Peretti said.
Wetherspoons only stocks Moët & Chandon champagne of which it sells under 100,000 bottles of a year.
And some Twitter users seemed surprised to learn that the pub chain even sold Champagne, such is the reputation of the pubs for being “soulless beer-drinking pits”


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Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.