Drinks firms give gas reassurances

Operators urged not to ‘bulk buy’ amid CO2 shortage

Pint pouring

BREWERS, soft drinks firms and wholesalers have moved to reassure the trade amid the CO2 gas shortage as some suppliers limited what licensees could buy and urged operators not to ‘bulk buy’.

Some drinks firms were reportedly running low on products or were forced to pause production last week after a number of producers of food grade carbon dioxide (CO2), which is used to put the ‘fizz’ in soft drinks, lager and cider as well as in the dispense of draught products, closed their sites for maintenance at the same time.

The shortage of CO2 comes at a peak time for the Scottish trade, as the summer holiday period gets underway and a heatwave grips the country.

Booker said it was experiencing “some supply issues” and had limits in place on certain products.

“Where restrictions apply it is for ten cases of a particular line, so a customer can purchase 300 cans of Budweiser with 300 cans of Stella, etc. per branch per day,” said a spokeswoman. “This satisfies the vast majority of Booker customers, preserves availability and avoids any ‘sub-wholesaling’.”

Inverarity Morton wrote to its customers, saying: “Our suppliers are all working to minimise the impact on their supply. There is no need to bulk buy as this shall only lead to further shortages.”

A spokesperson for Belhaven said it “remains business as usual for our customers”.

Matthew Clark said it continued to “work closely with our suppliers to monitor the CO2 shortage situation”.

A spokeswoman for Heineken 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.”

Both Carlsberg and Molson Coors said they have carbon dioxide recovery systems meaning they are able to generate all or most of the CO2 they require.

A spokesman for Tennent’s and Magners owner C&C Group said availability of its brands was “currently unaffected”.

In a statement Britvic said: “All of our factories have been, and remain, open and we continue to supply our customers across all of our brands.”

A spokeswoman for Irn-Bru owner AG Barr said it was “monitoring the supply position and production schedules closely to protect customer supply as much as possible”.

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) said: “There has been no disruption to supply to date and we are continuing to fulfil orders to our customers.”

Dispense gas suppliers contacted by SLTN declined to comment.