Wetherspoon settles Heineken dispute

Beer Glass

JD Wetherspoon has settled a dispute with Heineken that prompted the chain to bar the brewer’s drinks from its 926 pubs in Britain and Ireland.

The argument erupted last month after Heineken’s Irish arm refused to supply its eponymous lager and Murphy’s stout to Wetherspoon’s new pub in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin.

Heineken also demanded that Wetherspoon’s chief executive, John Hutson, personally guarantee any debt the pub group owed the brewer.

Wetherspoon said the request was unprecedented in 35 years of the companies trading and scrapped all Heineken’s drinks from its pubsputting £60m in sales a year at risk.

Announcing an end to the spat, Wetherspoon said its UK pubs would serve Heineken lager and the brewer’s other brands Fosters, Kronenbourg 1664, Strongbow, John Smith’s Extra Smooth and Amstel. Its Irish pubs will serve Beamish, Fosters and Symonds Cider but not Murphy’s or Heineken. The deal is not understood to include any guarantee from Hutson.

Wetherspoon’s commercial director, Paul Hine, said: “We are pleased to have reached agreeable commercial terms with Heineken. In the Republic of Ireland we will serve the three Heineken products at prices in line with our other products.”

The Dún Laoghaire pub, opened last month, is Wetherspoon’s second in Ireland, where it plans to open 30 pubs. Industry analysts said Heineken may have been unhappy that Wetherspoon was undercutting other pubs in Ireland by charging €3 (£2.35) a pint for its lager, compared with an average price of about €5.

After falling out with Diageo over its pricing of Guinness in Ireland, Wetherspoon is seeking to expand in the republic without serving the country’s most popular beers – Guinness, Murphy’s and Heineken.

Heineken said talks between the companies before Christmas were constructive and that the dispute was over.

“We are pleased to confirm that our supply of beer and cider to the JD Wetherspoon UK estate has resumed, and it is business as usual.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Sean Farrell, for The Guardian on Monday 5th January 2015 12.37 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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