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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with Portuguese
23 May, 2022

Brewing news UK: UK on the brink of bottled beer shortage

The UK is on the brink of a bottled beer shortage amid glassware supply issues and soaring costs, The Sun reported on May 23.

A Scottish wholesaler has warned that drinkers could be facing a dry summer.

Glassware prices have already soared by 80% over the past year, and small- and mid-sized breweries are expected to bear the brunt of the problems.

Julie Dunn, operations director at one of Scotland's largest wholesalers, Dunns Food and Drinks, said: "It won't be long before the glassware shortages hits UK consumers.

"Our wine and spirits suppliers from around the globe are facing ongoing struggles that will have a knock-on effect.

"As a result, there could be less variety in the bottled beers we see on UK shelves."

She said some breweries may be forced to produce their beer in cans as a temporary measure to ensure they can continue production.

Others could ramp up prices in an effort to cope, putting more pressure on family finances as millions are already grappling with a cost of living crisis.

Beer is the most popular type of alcohol sold in the UK, with more than £7.1billion spent on the stuff in 2020.

At-home consumption has increased in recent years, with more than 53% of purchases being "off-sales" in 2017.

That's unsurprising given that the price of a pint has soared. Londoners have already been warned they face paying £7 for a beer.

The average price of a pint across the UK is expected to leap from £4.04 to £4.40.

Edinburgh-based brewery Vault City Brewing supplies more than 600 supermarkets including Tesco across the UK.

It has warned it will switch to predominantly can-only releases next month because of rising costs and availability issues.

Steven Smith-Hay, the company's co-founder, said: "This was initially just for our session sours and supermarket range, but because production prices are so high, we've decided to make all our beers can-only from June, with the exception of a few special releases each year."

Mr Smith-Hay said the company is paying approximately 65p per bottle currently - around 15p more than six months ago.

He added: "If you think about the volume of beer we're bottling even as a microbrewery, the costs really start to pile up. It's just not viable to keep going in that direction."

This isn't the first warning on beer in recent months. GMB union said there could be a "summer beer drought" if strikes go ahead of Stella Artois and Budweiser factories.

The union has said its workers will go on strikes TEN times during June because of a pay row.

A spokesperson said workers had waited throughout May for a better pay offer from the company that hasn't been forthcoming, so have now confirmed they will be staging a walk-out.

The first day of strike action will be June 6, with the final current scheduled walk-out scheduled for June 25.

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