Pub landlord outraged as Marston’s drops ‘English’ branding from Bombardier
by Edith Hancock
A pub landlord said he refuses to adopt the new marketing material for Bombardier beer after the brewing company which owns it dropped any mention of the word “English” from its branding.

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Kevin Costello, who runs The Haywain in Bramling, Canterbury, said that selling it with the new, de-anglicised labelling, pump clips and glassware would put customers off the beer, which he claims is his best-seller.

Bombardier — a 4.1% cask beer — has long been sold as “the beer of England” by drinks maker Charles Wells, but the labelling changed when the company was acquired by beer giant Marston’s last year in a deal worth £55m.

The deal also saw Eagle Brewery — which produces Bombardier — open to the public on a regular basis for the first time in January.

As well as removing references to the beer being “English”, Marston’s has also dropped the St George’s flag from its marketing.

Instead, the drink is now sold as a “British Amber Beer.”

Costello told Kent Online the change of wording is “horrendous,” suggesting Bombardier now looks more like an “imperial German beer.”

“Bombardier always used to have big campaigns around St George’s Day and things like that – it was all about being English,” he said.

“If Bombardier was a Welsh or Scottish beer, I bet it wouldn’t have changed. It’s like Englishness doesn’t matter any more.”

Costello said he sells around five barrells of the beer per week, but worried that the new look will affect its popularity with locals.

“I’m refusing to use it because I’d lose business. I’m using the original signage that calls it an English beer. I’ve shown the branding to all of my customers and they hate it.”

“If I went into another pub and I saw this branding on the pump, I would not buy Bombardier. I’d get something else.”

A spokesperson told Kent Online that Marston’s chose to rebrand the beer last year to keep its marketing “fresh”. the drinks business has reached out for further comment.

Though Bombardier is perhaps one of Marston’s best-known products, the brewer said that craft drinks and “local beers” are proving increasingly popular with consumers, and contributed to a 1.6% rise in like-for-like sales at its taverns in its most recent financial statement.

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