Poles apart from their homeland hit the beer
Polish lagers are proving a big hit in JD Wetherspoon pubs and are seeing the fastest sales growth experienced by bottled beers in its pubs, proving a sound UK investment for the business.
Strong sales of the drinks – including Tyskie and Zywiec – contributed to a 20% improvement in JD Wetherspoon’s pre-tax profits to £32.9m in the six months to 28th January.
The 662-strong pub chain said that food, purchased with drinks, now accounted for about 50% of total sales. It is selling about 450,000 coffees and 240,000 breakfasts each week and total sales in the period were up 8% to £434.4m, a good return on its UK investment.
However, it cautioned that higher wages and utility costs, as well as tougher comparisons, meant like-for-like sales were about to slow from the 7.4% seen in the first half to between 2% and 4%.
Eddie Gerhson, spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon, said: “We started stocking Polish beers in pubs where there were Polish communities about three years ago.
“We got in first as a small UK investment and it has grown from there. There are now hundreds of thousands of Poles in the UK, which doesn’t do our sales any harm at all.”
He continued: “There are also a lot of native people who like to try different beers, be they brewed in Poland, Lithuania or Jamaica.”