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Landlord refuses to adopt new Bombardier branding after it drops 'English' from its label

By Jack Dyson

An angry pub landlord is refusing to adopt a beer’s new branding after a brewery removed any mention of it being English from its label.

Kevin Costello, who runs the Haywain on the outskirts of Canterbury, believes if he was to do so it would hurt sales of his best-selling beverage – Bombardier.

The firm behind the ale, which has long-been promoted as “the drink of England”, has also removed the St George’s flag from its marketing.

Bombardier - which has 100% English ingredients - is now hailed as “British amber hopped beer”. Mr Costello has called the decision “horrendous”.

“Bombardier always used to have big campaigns around St George’s Day and things like that – it was all about being English,” said the 54-year-old.

“But now it looks like an imperial German beer. The beer is the same; it hasn’t been changed. I can’t understand why somebody would change a brand that worked.

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

Landlord Kevin Costello is angry that the new branding for Bombardier beer has changed from English beer to British beer. Picture: Paul Amos
Landlord Kevin Costello is angry that the new branding for Bombardier beer has changed from English beer to British beer. Picture: Paul Amos
The old Bombardier branding. Picture: Paul Amos
The old Bombardier branding. Picture: Paul Amos
The new Bombardier branding. Picture: Paul Amos
The new Bombardier branding. Picture: Paul Amos

Mr Costello is refusing to use the new Bombardier glasses, beer mats and pump clips he has been provided.

He estimates he sells five barrels of Bombardier every week – about two more than any other draught offering - but claims sales would dip if he adopted the “British” branding.

“I’m refusing to use it because I’d lose business,” he continued. “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.”

Brewery Marston’s decided to market the beer differently in July last year after it bought Charles Wells, the beer’s original brewer.

Bramling Haywain Pub. Landlord Kevin Costello is angry that the new branding for Bombadier beer has changed from English Beer to British Beer.Picture: Paul Amos. (3549128)
Bramling Haywain Pub. Landlord Kevin Costello is angry that the new branding for Bombadier beer has changed from English Beer to British Beer.Picture: Paul Amos. (3549128)

A spokesman for the firm said it needed a redesign to keep it up to date. He added that such marketing initiatives are common for most companies seeking to remain “fresh”.

When asked why removing the English branding amounted to it being refreshed, the spokesman declined to elaborate further.

Mr Costello said: “There must be a good reason for it. It must be down to money.

“I don’t think it will increase sales, though. I would lose sales if I was to use the branding.”

The Marston’s spokesman said Mr Costello’s decision not to use the new marketing material “is fine with us”.

“The most important thing is the beer, which has not changed, and of course that the customers continue to enjoy the same great beer they always have,” he added.

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