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Gloucestershire Business News

Champagne out as pub chain goes British-only ahead of Brexit

Whether Wetherspoon owner Tim Martin realises it, but in banning Champagne in favour of British-made sparkling wine he will be respecting the true provenance of the tipple.

The owner of the ever-popular pub chain which has businesses across Gloucestershire has called time on the likes of Champagne ahead of Brexit.

Mr Martin, who campaigned for Brexit, said his company would be transitioning away from European Union products and replacing the likes of the famous French bubbly with sparkling wines from the UK.

French Monk Dom Perignon is often given credit for inventing the process in 1697 at the abbey in Hautvilliers and calling it Champagne.

But five years before than one Christopher Merrett, a scientist and, physician as well as resident of Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, first documented "how to put the fizz into sparkling wine".

His information points to the origins being even more firmly rooted in the UK. In a paper he presented to the Royal Society, Mr Merrett described how British winemakers had been adding sugar to give their drinks their refreshing bubbly quality 30 years before Monseigneur Perignon.

Drinkers at Wetherspoon will see beers brewed in Germany with British wheat beer and alcohol-free brews - something Mr Martin points out will cost customers less as well.

Alcohol-free Adnams Ghost Ship, for example, is expected to sail in to replace the German alcohol-free Erdinger.

The move is believed to be part of a product review which will take place over the next six to 24 months with Wetherspoon honouring its contracts with EU suppliers - some of which have several years to run - before considering UK-made alternatives.

Mr Martin has branded the EU customers union a "protectionist system" which penalises producers from the rest of the world and restricts choice in the UK.

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