Bristol bar is branded ‘Britain’s fairest pub’ for refusing to serve ‘unethical’ big brands

Rum and awake please! Bristol bar is branded ‘Britain’s fairest pub’ for refusing to serve big ‘unethical’ brands such as Coke, Bacardi, Thatchers, Polish lager Tyskie and Heineken

  • Red Lion in Bristol has revealed it won’t serve Coca-Cola, Heineken or Thatchers
  • Pub bosses say Thatchers creators have apparent links to Edward Colston
  • They say Coca-Cola has a history of water misuse in third world countries
  • The pub has sparked a social media storm after revealing the list of drinks it will not be serving










A bar has been branded ‘Britain’s woktiest pub’ for refusing to sell a number of popular drinks for ethical reasons.

Bristol’s Red Lion has revealed it will not be serving Coca-Cola, Heineken, Polish lager Tyskie, Thatchers or Bacardi due to concerns over brand history.

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

The Red Lion also won’t stock Poland’s biggest Tyskie after the company that owns it was linked to an anti-LGBTQ+ movement; and Bacardi has been linked to historic attacks in Cuba.

The pub has sparked a social media storm after revealing the list of drinks it will not be serving, but owner Lemmy is upset with the response to their decision, which was ‘made solely on their ethics’.

He said part of the backlash was because they were “publicly supporting the Colston Four” – a group of activists who tore down the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol – one of whom is a client of the pub.

Bristol’s Red Lion has revealed it will not be serving Coca-Cola, Heineken, Polish lager Tyskie, Thatcher’s or Bacardi due to concerns over trademark history

Staff at the Red Lion Pub on Whitehall Road in Bristol's Redfield district unite after deciding to stop selling Thatchers cider on ethical grounds

Staff at the Red Lion Pub on Whitehall Road in Bristol’s Redfield district unite after deciding to stop selling Thatchers cider on ethical grounds

Coca Cola

Heineken

Bristol’s Red Lion has revealed it will not be serving Coca-Cola, Heineken, Polish lager Tyskie, Thatchers or Bacardi due to concerns over brand history

Ethical Concerns with Big Brands

Thatchers – ‘links to Edward Colston’

Activists in Bristol have called for a boycott of Thatchers Cider after its manager joined a society of merchants with historical links to slave trader Edward Colston.

The Countering Colston group has 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 historic 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 criticized in 2016 for causing extreme water shortages in developing countries.

The War on Want campaign group produced evidence that Coca-Cola was having a serious impact in parts of India and Latin America.

Researchers found parts of Rajasthan where farmers couldn’t irrigate their fields after Coca-Cola established a bottling plant.

Tyskie – “linked to an anti-LGBTQ+ movement”

Beer giant Kompania Piwowarska (KP), which runs Tyskie, sponsored an event at the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, organized by the right-wing Polish magazine Gazeta Polska, Vice reported.

One of the guests was Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the Law and Justice party, who called the Pride parades a “travelling theater”.

Heineken – ‘unethical practices in Africa’

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

A synopsis of his book summarizes his findings: “Heineken has done little to benefit Africa. On the contrary, there are shocking skeletons in his African closet: tax evasion, sexual abuse, links to genocide and other human rights violations.

Bacardi – “linked to historic bombings in Cuba”

In 2004, allegations that a former head of the Bacardi family had plotted to kill Fidel Castro and were linked to a terrorist attack that killed 73 airline passengers were reported.

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

Lemmy added: “A lot of the reasons we’ve taken before in what we choose to store and don’t store are because of land use, water use, worker rights – for to name just a few.

“We don’t serve Coca-Cola because they have a history of very poor water use in third world countries, which not many people know about. We were labeled “awakened” and all these weaponized words – which made us feel quite vulnerable.

“When we have taken a position that we believe is ethical, we don’t want to become some kind of target.

This whole thing with Thatchers turned into politics because of the Colston affair. That’s partly because we’ve publicly supported the Colston Four – one of them actually drinks in our pub – but that’s only part of it.

“We actually stopped selling Thatchers during the pandemic, and we haven’t had it in draft since, just cans. Thatchers have done a really good job of bringing decent cider to the masses, but this product isn’t the same product it was back then – that’s not their fault.

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

The company has been criticized for its historical ties to the slave trade and Edward Colston.

Lemmy said, “Like any product when you make millions of gallons the quality of the product is bound to go down. Then, when the Merchant Venturers story broke, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back – 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 slammed the Merchant Venturers and confirmed it would no longer buy Thatchers cider and ‘when it’s gone it’ll be gone for good’.

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

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

Claire Horare commented on Facebook: “Embarrassment. Never go to this pub then. This pub is everything that is wrong with modern society.

Victoria Gardner: “These owners are pathetic!! What about not serving alcohol altogether, because it destroys thousands of families, but it was never mentioned hypocritical and sad people! J hope they don’t smoke, don’t have sugar and make their own clothes.

Ben Kates said: “Oh how fabulously virtuous you are and woke up.” The past is the past.’

Graeme Patton added: “For the love of God, what is this country going to become a slave to snowflakes.”

Colin Ford added: “Dear God, the world is going crazy over snowflakes.”

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