'Britain's wokest pub' refuses to serve 'unethical' major brands

Rum and WOKE please! Bristol bar is branded ‘Britain’s most right-on pub’ for refusing to serve ‘unethical’ major brands such as Coke, Bacardi, Thatchers, Polish lager Tyskie and Heineken

  • Red Lion in Bristol revealed it will not serve Coca-Cola, Heineken or Thatchers
  • Pub bosses say the makers of Thatchers have apparent links to Edward Colston
  • They say Coca-Cola has a history of the misuse of water in third world countries
  • Pub sparked a social media storm after revealing the list of drinks it won’t serve
  • A bar has been branded ‘Britain’s wokest pub’ for refusing to sell a number of popular drinks for ethical reasons.

    The Red Lion in Bristol revealed it will not serve Coca-Cola, Heineken, Polish lager Tyskie, Thatchers or Bacardi because of concerns over the brands’ histories.  

    Pub bosses say the makers of Thatchers have links to Edward Colston and slavery; Coca-Cola has a history of the misuse of water in developing countries; and Heineken has been accused of unethical practices in Africa.   

    The Red Lion also won’t stock Polish larger Tyskie after the company that owns it was linked to an anti-LGBTQ+ movement; and Bacardi has been linked with historical attacks in Cuba

    The pub sparked a social media storm after revealing the list of drinks it won’t serve, but landlord Lemmy is upset about the response to their decision, which was ‘made purely on their ethics.’ 

    He said part of the backlash was because they ‘publicly supported the Colston Four’ – a group of activists who tore down the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol – one of whom is a customer at the pub. 

    The Red Lion in Bristol revealed it will not serve Coca-Cola, Heineken, Polish lager Tyskie, Thatcher's or Bacardi because of concerns over the brands' history

    The Red Lion in Bristol revealed it will not serve Coca-Cola, Heineken, Polish lager Tyskie, Thatcher’s or Bacardi because of concerns over the brands’ history

    Staff at The Red Lion Pub on Whitehall Road, in the Redfield area of Bristol stand together after deciding to stop selling Thatchers cider for ethical reasons

    Staff at The Red Lion Pub on Whitehall Road, in the Redfield area of Bristol stand together after deciding to stop selling Thatchers cider for ethical reasons

    Coca-Cola

    Heineken

    The Red Lion in Bristol revealed it will not serve Coca-Cola, Heineken, Polish lager Tyskie, Thatchers or Bacardi because of concerns over the brands’ history

    Ethical concerns over major brands 

    Thatchers – ‘links to Edward Colston’

    Bristol campaigners called for a boycott of Thatchers Cider after its director joined a merchants’ society with historical links to slave trader Edward Colston.

    The Countering Colston group launched a ‘Don’t Buy Thatchers’ campaign against the Somerset drinks company.

    They tweeted: ‘Martin Thatcher, director of the company, is a member of the Society of the Merchant Venturers.

    ‘The SMV has deep roots in the historical slave trade in Bristol, and its members were responsible for the suffering and death of tens of thousands of human beings.’

    Coca-Cola – ‘causing water shortages’

    Coca-Cola was in 2016 criticised for causing extreme water shortages in developing countries.

    Campaign group War on Want produced evidence that Coca-Cola had a serious impact in parts of India and Latin America.

    Researchers uncovered parts of Rajasthan where farmers could not irrigate their fields after Coca-Cola established a bottling plant.

    Tyskie – ‘linked to an anti-LGBTQ+ movement’

    Beer-making giant Kompania Piwowarska (KP), which manages Tyskie, sponsored an event at Warsaw’s National Philharmonic, hosted by Polish right-wing magazine Gazeta Polska, Vice reported.

    One of the guests was Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the Law and Justic party, who called Pride parades a ‘travelling theatre’.

    Heineken – ‘unethical pratices in Africa’

    Author and journalist Olivier van Beemen wrote ‘Heineken in Africa: A Multinational Unleashed’ in 2015, examining how the company truly has benefited the continent, as it claims.

    A synopsis for his book summarises his conclusions: ‘Heineken has hardly benefited Africa at all. On the contrary, there are some shocking skeletons in its African closet: tax avoidance, sexual abuse, links to genocide and other human rights violations.’

    Bacardi – ‘linked with historic attacks in Cuba’

    In 2004 allegations that a former head of the Bacardi family plotted to kill Fidel Castro and was linked to a terrorist outrage that killed 73 air passengers were reported.

    A member of the Bacardi family was said to be involved in plots to overthrow the Cuban government in the 1960s, and some family members had supported economic sanctions against Cuba, The Guardian reports.

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    Lemmy added: ‘A lot of the reasons we’ve taken before in what we choose what to stock and what not to is because of land use, water use, worker’s rights – to name just a few.

    ‘We don’t serve Coca-Cola because they have a history of seriously bad use of water in third world countries, that not a lot of people know about. We have been labelled ”woke” and all these weaponised words – which have made us feel pretty vulnerable.

    ‘When we have taken the stance which we believe is ethical – we do not want to be made some kind of target. 

    This whole thing with Thatchers has veered into politics because of the Colston thing. Part of it is because we publicly supported the Colston Four – one of them actually drinks in our pub – but that’s only a part of it.

    ‘We actually stopped selling Thatchers during the pandemic, and haven’t had it on draft since, only cans. Thatchers did a really good job of bringing decent cider to the masses but that product is not the same product it was back then – it’s no fault of theirs.’ 

    Earlier this month campaign group Countering Colston called for a boycott of the brand, because company director Martin Thatcher is a member of the Society of the Merchant Venturers.

    The society has been criticised for its historical links to the slave trade and Edward Colston. 

    Lemmy said: ‘Like any product when you’re making millions of gallons, the product quality is bound to go down. Then when the Merchant Venturers thing came up, it was the final straw – and it would have been hypocritical of us to continue selling it after supporting the Colston Four.

    ‘People prefer the other ciders we sell anyway!’

    In a Facebook post last week, the pub criticised the Merchant Venturers and confirmed that it would not be buying any more Thatchers cider and ‘when it’s gone it’s gone for good’.

    Lemmy said: ‘We haven’t jumped on a band wagon here – it is part of who we all are and who we have always been. We really didn’t expect this and don’t see it as something that should be shouted about.’

    The pub’s choices has caused a stir on social media.

    Claire Horare commented on Facebook: ‘Embarrassment. Never going in that pub then. This pub is everything that is wrong in the modern day society.’      

    Victoria Gardner: ‘These landlords are pathetic!! What about not serving alcohol altogether as it wrecks thousands of families yet that’s never mentioned hypocritical sad people! Hope they don’t smoke, have any sugar and make your own clothes.’

    Ben Kates said: ‘Oh how fabulously virtuous and woke of you. The past is the past.’

    Graeme Patton added: ‘For God sake what next this country is becoming slaves to snowflakes.’

    Colin Ford added: ‘Dear God the world is going mad thanks to snowflakes.’