Brewers offer reassurances amid CO2 gas shortage

BREWERS and soft drinks firms have moved to reassure the trade amid the CO2 gas shortage.

Reports have suggested some drinks firms are running low on products or have paused production after a number of producers of food grade carbon dioxide (CO2), which is used to put the ‘fizz’ in soft drinks and lager as well as in the dispense of draught products, closed their sites for maintenance and refurbishment at the same time.

The shortage of CO2, which is also affecting the meat and poultry industries, comes at a peak time for the Scottish trade, as the summer holiday period gets underway and a heatwave grips the country.

A spokesman for C&C Group, owner of Tennent’s and Magners, said the company has reassured its customers that availability of its brands is “currently unaffected”.

In a statement, Carlsberg UK said it has a carbon dioxide recovery system within its Northampton brewery, meaning it is “self-sufficient with regard to the CO2 necessary to support our brewing commitments”.

“At present, we see no risk to our production and supply of our beer and cider brands to our customers,” said a spokeswoman.

Heineken said its CO2 supplier is “facing a major issue with supply availability in the UK”.

“Like many other businesses in the food and drinks industry, we are affected by this shortage,” said the Amstel, Foster’s and Strongbow parent company in a statement.

“We continue to work hard to resolve this issue as quickly as possible within our European supply base, and are working with customers to minimise disruption to their business.”

Molson Coors said it is able to generate most of its own CO2 required for production and packaging for its major brands.

“For our smaller breweries, we are working with CO2 suppliers to maintain the supply,” said a spokeswoman.

“We can confirm we are still brewing and packaging and orders based on normal levels are being fulfilled.”

The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) said the shortage of CO2 across northern Europe is “impacting a wide range of businesses across the food and drink sector”.

“Soft drinks producers in the UK are taking active steps to maintain their service to customers including working with their suppliers to mitigate the impact as well as looking at alternative sources,” said BSDA director general Gavin Partington.

A spokeswoman for AG Barr said: “We invested in additional CO2 storage last year, and have multiple supplier agreements in place, but are monitoring the supply position and production schedules closely to protect customer supply as much as possible.”

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) said it is “responding to an industry-wide issue that is impacting the supply of C02 in the UK and across Europe”.

“Our focus is on limiting the effect this may have on the availability of our products,” said a spokeswoman.

“There has been no disruption to supply to date and we are continuing to fulfil orders to our customers. We are working closely with our suppliers, partners and customers on a number of solutions as the situation develops.”