Wetherspoon ditches Heineken over supply spat

Wetherspoons have banned Heineken. Picture: Getty
Wetherspoons have banned Heineken. Picture: Getty
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Pubs giant JD Wetherspoon has banned Heineken products from its 926 venues across the UK and Ireland following a row with the Dutch brewer.

The group said yesterday Heineken had refused to supply its eponymous lager and Murphy’s stout to Wetherspoon’s new pub in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, and also demanded “personal guarantees” from chief executive John Hutson in order to supply any other products – such as Foster’s lager and Strongbow cider – for the outlet in the seaside town.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We have been trading with Heineken for 35 years and they have never requested personal guarantees before.

“It’s obstructive to do so now, especially when we made record profits of around £80 million last year.”

He added: “The refusal to supply Heineken lager and Murphy’s just before the opening of our new pub in Dun Laoghaire, which represents an investment by us of nearly €4 million (£3.2m), is unacceptable and hard to understand.”

The venue, called The Forty Foot, is due to open next week, becoming the chain’s second in the Republic. Wetherspoon has been selling Heineken lager and Murphy’s at less than €3 a pint in its first Irish pub, The Three Tun Tavern at Blackrock, Dublin, compared with an average price in the Republic of around €5.

A Heineken UK spokesman said: “We are aware of the comments made by JD Wetherspoon and its chairman. Heineken UK has had a long-standing and successful relationship with JD Wetherspoon in the UK market over a 35-year period, and it is unfortunate that commercial issues in Ireland between Heineken Ireland and JD Wetherspoon have led to the current situation.

“We are seeking a resolution as soon as possible, and it is not our intention to comment further at this point.”

Wetherspoon, founded by Martin in 1979, last month said it had faced “several” cost increases from suppliers as it unveiled a 6.3 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 26 ­October. The group also told investors that it remained on track to open up to 40 pubs in this ­financial year.

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