Popular affordable pub chain J.D Wetherspoon — often referred to as simply Wetherspoons — is set to serve vegan beer at its upcoming Real Ale and Cider Festival.
The festival — which will take place in all Wetherspoons pubs across the UK and Ireland for just under two weeks — aims to showcase beers from around the globe, including from the UK, Australia, China, and South Africa.
This year, however, there will be no European beers on offer. Tim Martin — the founder of Wetherspoons and a staunch Brexiteer — removed nearly all European wines, beers, and ales from behind the bar in January. Belgian lager Stella Artois is the only European beer that remains on sale.
In tune with public demand, vegan beers will be available at the festival. According to Bristol Live, the pub chain will serve Blue Nose, a dark purple ale with a “sweet flavour of blueberries, cloves, and spice.” Cambridgeshire brewery Elgood’s vegan stout Hen in Black will also be served, with “aromas of chocolate, espresso, and liquorice.”
According to a press release from Wetherspoons, the ale festival aims to offer customers the chance to try something different.
“Now in its 12th year, the international brewers’ project first began for our spring 2008 festival,” it notes. “The overseas collaboration supports both the international brewers and the British brewing industry, giving you the opportunity to enjoy world beers at your local.”
As well as vegan-friendly alcohol, the chain offers a range of plant-based menu options in its pubs, including a full English breakfast, pizza, a vegetable wrap, and a chickpea curry. Most recently, it added a meaty vegan burger by The Meatless Farm Company in select locations.
Across the UK, consumers are becoming more aware of the health, environmental, and ethical consequences of consuming animal products. According to a Kantar Worldpanel study from February, 66 million Brits ate 150 million vegan meals last year.
Fraser McKevitt, the head of retail and consumer insights at Kantar Worldpanel, said earlier this year, “Looking back on 2018 as a whole, one of the most notable consumer trends is the shift to a more plant-based diet.”
Wetherspoons’ Real Ale and Cider Festival will take place from March 27 to April 7.