NEWS
01/09/2021 12:01 BST

Wetherspoons Is The Latest Chain To Fall Victim To Shortages – And Karma

The pub's founder Tim Martin famously supported Brexit, and the internet has not forgotten.

Henry Nicholls via Reuters
Brexit-backing Boris Johnson and Brexit supporter JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin pictured at Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London, Britain, July 10, 2019. 

Wetherspoons has not been able to stock pints of beer brands in some branches this week, as the Brexit-supporting chain faces the reported consequences of leaving the EU combined with the pandemic.

The pub chain has confirmed it is the latest national name to fall victim to the distribution problems, thought to have been brought about by both Brexit and Covid.

Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin famously supported Brexit, and even printed 200,000 beer mats featuring the message “take back control” before the EU referendum.

Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are experiencing some supply problems with both Carling and Coors, which means that some pubs do not have the products available.

“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused. We know that the brewers are trying to resolve the issue.”

The news of the beer shortage appears to have started after a tweet from Graham Hughes’ account. He tweeted a picture of a sign – purportedly in the window of a Wetherspoons pub in Wolverhampton – which read: “No Carling, Coors, Bud Light. 

“We regret to inform you that we are out of stock of Carling, Coors and Bud Light due to supply issues regards [sic] to lack of lorry drivers and strike action which are out of our control.”

Hughes captioned the picture: “It appears that #Brexit is screwing over Wetherspoons an’ all.”

While the chain has not attributed these issues to either the pandemic or the departure from the UK, it is not the only household name to report serious shortages in recent weeks.

Co-op boss Steve Murrell claimed food shortages have fallen to the “worst level I have ever seen”, while Nando’s had to shut down some branches due to a chicken shortage and McDonald’s admitted it had run out of milkshakes.

The UK is now missing more than 100,000 HGV drivers, according to the Road Haulage Association.

The organisation claimed Britain was already short by 60,000 drivers before the pandemic struck, potentially because Brexit meant many European drivers left the UK.

A survey from the Office of National Statistics also found 27 percent of companies which serve food have reported lower than usual stock levels.

Inevitably, many are now pointing out the irony that the Brexiteer Martin has now been hit by Brexit-induced shortages.

Matt Cardy via Getty Images
Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon speaks at the 'Leave Means Rally' at the Rivera International Centre on October 13, 2018

In response to the news, Financial Times’ journalist Jim Pickard tweeted: “And when Tim Martin discovers who’s responsible for the beer shortages at Wetherspoons pub he’ll be very cross.”

Others weren’t slow to join in, and quickly pointed out Martin’s misfortune.

Martin even pleaded for prime minister Boris Johnson to introduce a special visa scheme in collaboration with the EU back in June, as pubs and restaurants struggled with recruitment.

Yet, Martin denied that his own chain was suffering at the time, claiming Wetherspoons was in “a reasonably good position”.

The so-called ‘pingdemic’ brought on by the NHS Covid app is thought to have played a key part of reducing the number of UK lorry drivers too.

Drivers had to self-isolate if they come into contact with a positive case, although the government has recently altered this ruling so that fully vaccinated people are exempt.