Pubs promise beer will flow for England’s clash with Belgium
The British Beer and Pub Association said brewers were ‘working their socks off’ to keep supplies going despite the CO2 shortage.
Pubs will “certainly not be running dry” despite the CO2 shortage as they welcome football fans for England’s World Cup clash with Belgium.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said stocks of the gas remained low but brewers were “working their socks” off to ensure the beer continued to flow.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Although stocks of bulk CO2 remain low, brewers across the country are working their socks off around the clock to ensure there is still plenty of beer to go around.
Our message to beer drinkers and England fans is clear: Keep calm and carry on going to the pub British Beer and Pub Association
“The UK can produce as much as 10 million pints of beer per day, and with signs of things improving, pubs will certainly not be running dry.
“Our message to beer drinkers and England fans is clear: Keep calm and carry on going to the pub. If your usual beer of choice isn’t available, then why not use it as an opportunity to try something new?”
The assurances come after some pub chains reported they had temporarily run out or were short of John Smith’s, Strongbow, Amstel and Birra Moretti as disruption to supplies of CO2 began to take effect at the bar.
But Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We can assure our customers that all of our pubs will have a great choice of drink available tonight.
“Although a few drinks are likely to be unavailable due to the C02 issue, our pubs will still offer up to 17 draft lagers, ciders and real ale as well as all other drinks, including wine, spirits and soft drinks.”
Wetherspoon said yesterday that some pubs were temporarily without draught John Smith’s and Strongbow cider, while Punch Taverns, which has around 1,300 pubs, said it had shortfalls of John Smith’s, Amstel and Birra Moretti.
Wetherspoon said supplier Heineken had advised both would be available again in a couple of days, while Punch said it hoped that product availability will be restored within the next few days.
A Heineken spokeswoman said: “We’d like to reassure beer drinkers that all our breweries are operating at full capacity, and we’re working 24/7 to get beers to our customers as quickly as possible.”
Ei, the UK’s largest pub group which runs the Craft Union and Bermondsey Pub Company chains, said: “We are aware of the issue relating to a shortage in the supply of CO2 and are working with our suppliers to minimise any disruption to our customers and our publicans.”
Food wholesaler Booker is limiting sales of some lines to 10 cases per customer per day to prevent “sub-wholesaling”.
The Tesco-owned retailer, which is used by bars, restaurants and traders, said the move was to preserve availability and satisfy the “vast majority of Booker customers”.
A Booker spokeswoman said: “Due to the international shortage of CO2, we are experiencing some supply issues on soft drinks and beer. We are currently working hard with our suppliers to minimise the impact for our customers.”
A spokeswoman for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said CO2 supply issues remained and retailers and suppliers were working hard to ensure food availability was maintained.
The BRC said: “We are aware of specific pressures in some areas such as carbonated soft drinks, beer, British chicken and British pork but the majority of food products are unaffected and retailers do not anticipate food shortages.
“However, it is likely that the mix of products available may be affected.”
The shortages are understood to have been caused by a longer than usual break in production of ammonia, one of the key sources of food grade CO2 in Europe – which is used to carbonate drinks and preserve some packed fresh foods.
Trade journal Gas World said the shortage had been described as the “worst supply situation to hit the European carbon dioxide (CO2) business in decades”.