By James Wilkinson

Sir Richard Branson has created controversy in Sydney by rebranding Keystone’s iconic Australian Hotel to ‘The Brit’ in the wake of England’s recent Ashes victory and to celebrate Virgin Atlantic’s 25th birthday.

Richard Branson pulls a beer at ‘The Brit’

In a marketing coup that will be the talk of the travel industry for months to come, Branson has struck up a deal with Keystone Hospitality to have the pub renamed The Brit until October 15.

Both the exterior and interior of the pub have been rebranded and over the next two weeks, The Brit will feature a dedicated British menu, drinks and Virgin memorabilia. Virgin Atlantic is also giving pub patrons the chance to win a trip to London, by submitting their best sledge.

“It’s not every day that an Englishman in Australia gets bragging rights in the sporting arena, but I’m thankful that the launch of The Brit really does celebrate England’s win and Virgin Atlantic’s red hot fares to London from only $1908,” Branson said.

“As Britain’s flag carrier we couldn’t miss out on this opportunity to partner with Australia’s most iconic pub to keep the friendly banter rolling.

“Despite the tough year we’ve all experienced it’s never been more affordable for Aussies to visit the home of the Ashes. Long may the friendly rivalry between Australia and the old enemy continue,” he said.

A Branson double at ‘The Brit’

Keystone Hospitality marketing manager Ted Helliar said while the name change may cause some controversy, the group was excited about working-in with Branson.

“The Australian Hotel is extremely proud to be associated with a modern day legend like Sir Richard Branson,” he said.

“Whilst it hurts that they won the Ashes for the second time in 40-odd years, The Aussie is about having some fun and we think this is reflected by Virgin Atlantic and this great promotion.

“We encourage everyone to come down and see why Sir Richard chose our iconic little Aussie pub and made it his own… you can’t argue with a trip to the UK as a result,” Helliar said.

The prize to London includes a tour of the home of cricket, Lord’s, plus accommodation at the 5-star Langham hotel. The first 1,000 entrants also receive a complimentary 3-month subscription to Time Out Sydney magazine.

Branson and cabin crew ‘open’ The Brit

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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