Lager and soft drinks risk flat sales following CO2 shortage

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Beer fears: shortage of CO2 poses risk to drinks sales
Beer fears: shortage of CO2 poses risk to drinks sales

Related tags: Lager, Soft drink

Lager and soft drinks sales could run dry if more food-grade carbon dioxide (CO2) is not produced soon, as stockpiles across Europe run down.

Dwindling amounts of CO2 have already hit soft drinks and lager producers across Europe, with UK producers now being warned they too could be affected.

The news does not bode well for pub operators, who will be gearing up to cater for summertime drinkers, as well as punters seeking refreshment during World Cup matches.

Industry bodies, including the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), have acknowledged the threat of a carbonated drinks drought as the majority of CO2 suppliers in northern Europe have stopped production for maintenance.

CO2 shortfall

Utilities publication Gas World ​first broke the news of the CO2 shortfall​ on its website, claiming the UK would be the hardest hit as only one major CO2 plant was in operation.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said the issue had already started to affect UK beer producers.

“We are aware of the situation affecting the availability of CO2 across Europe, which has now started to impact beer producers in the UK,” she said.

“We have recommended our members continue to liaise with their providers directly where they have concerns over supply.

“We will continue to monitor the situation carefully, however, given the time of year and the World Cup, this situation has arisen at an unfortunate time for the brewing industry.”

Carbonated drinks

It is possible brewers and other carbonated drinks producers will not be able to maintain production, potentially causing stocking issues for pubs and other outlets across the UK.

Soft drinks producers had taken steps to ensure limited impact, British Soft Drinks Association director general Gavin Partington said in a statement.

“The shortage of CO2 across northern Europe is impacting a wide range of businesses across the food and drink sector,” he said.

“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 for alternative sources.”

Look out for more reports on the issue later today (20 June).

Related topics: Beer, Soft & Hot Drinks, Cider

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