Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin has criticised brewer and pub company Greene King for its decision to seek a judicial review against a planned Wetherspoon pub in Stirling’s Spittal Street, accusing them of trying to “preserve a local monopoly in Stirling.”
The judicial review, set for later this year, relates to a disused retail shop in the town centre, which Wetherspoon is aiming to develop into one of its pubs with a £1.5m spend. It has already been granted a licence by the local licensing board, but Greene King is now challenging the board’s decision.
Mr Martin said, “I do not feel it is right for competitors to try and prevent Wetherspoon from opening a new pub.
“It is a throwback to the 1980s when the major brewers tried to stop Wetherspoon and other companies opening up close to their pubs. It seems to me that Greene King are frightened of competition and are seeking to preserve a local monopoly in Stirling.
He added, “The strange thing is that Wetherspoon is Greene King’s biggest customer and we have traded with them for more than 30 years, so we are more than a little surprised by their actions.”
Greene King declined to comment when contacted by the DRAM.
Wetherspoon’s PR advisor Eddie Gershon told us, “ I’m not surprised, what can they say. However Greene King’s beers are incredibly popular in our pubs, and Tim’s comments are not a threat in any way, but we were surprised by their actions. It’s a throwback to the 1980’s.”