Report of supply issues and bear shortages at Wetherspoon pubs are inaccurate says chairman Tim Martin.
The company said: “For example, a BBC headline said ‘Wetherspoon runs low on beer amid driver shortage’ and quoted the singer Billy Bragg who said ‘Here’s a lament for Tim Martin, whose Wetherspoon chain is struggling with the realities of the Brexit for which he campaigned so loudly’.
In fact, it is inaccurate to say ‘Wetherspoon runs low on beer’ because beer shortages applied only to a minority of the 23 products sold on draught by the majority of Wetherspoon pubs. As of Wednesday (1 September), when the BBC report was issued, the overall amount of beer Wetherspoon had in stock was about the same as two years ago. These limited shortages followed threatened industrial action in recent weeks by drivers and warehouse staff acting on behalf of Heineken which, Wetherspoon understands, included an overtime ban.
As a result, some Wetherspoon pubs ran out of Heineken products and there was a knock-on effect on other brands. Therefore, the impression given by the report in the BBC article regarding shortages was highly misleading.”
Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin added: “Strenuous efforts are being made to link supply issues to Brexit.
“In this case the main link relates to industrial action – Brexit gave the power to the UK Government to allow more HGV drivers in, should it choose to do so.
“There are supply chain issues in many EU countries following the pandemic. It has been widely reported that there are shortages of 400,000 HGV drivers in Germany, France and Spain, for example, and Germany, in particular, is struggling with major worldwide supply chain issues.
“As an aside, it is interesting to note that a recent BBC report on McDonalds running out of milk shakes hardly mentioned Brexit and its report on shortages at Nandos did not mention Brexit at all. By the same token, a BBC report, a fortnight ago, on beer supply issues in Scottish pubs did not mention Brexit either. However, the BBC report on Wetherspoon refers to Brexit in the headline”