Brewers and drinks companies join calls for Government action over supply chain

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Challenging time: the sector has been hit by on ongoing shortage of HGV drivers (image: Getty/Jaroslaw Kilian)
Challenging time: the sector has been hit by on ongoing shortage of HGV drivers (image: Getty/Jaroslaw Kilian)

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Brewers and drinks companies are joining calls for the Government to take action over the issues surrounding the supply chain.

The supply chain problems are being caused by a number of issues including the widely reported lack of HGV drivers and the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ on haulage and warehouse workers. 

The Road Haulage Association, the road transport trade association, recently revealed that there was a shortage of 100,000 drivers​. 

The food and drink industry is calling for a 12-month Covid-19 Recovery Visa ​to help alleviate the workforce shortages. 

The news comes as it was revealed that some 20.4% of accommodation and food service operators​ have had issues with getting goods or services, figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed. 

It is thought unlikely there will be a shortage of beer the issues are creating challenges for both brewer and operators. 

Challenging time

A spokesman from Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company said: “It remains an incredibly challenging time. Like many other brewers in the UK, we remain impacted by the ongoing shortage of qualified HGV drivers and urgent Government intervention is required to address this in the immediate term. 

“Despite these challenges our teams are working incredibly hard to make sure we get the beers we brew, and those we wholesale from others, to our on-trade customers as best and as quickly as we can.”

Heineken said it was working “tirelessly” to find solutions to the delivery issues. 

“We continue to do everything we can to get our beers and ciders to customers, and are keeping them constantly updated. We’re working tirelessly to find solutions to delivery issues caused by considerable disruption in the haulage and logistics market,” said a Heineken spokesperson.

“What’s important is that the great British pub is open for business. Pubs won’t run dry – if your favourite pint isn’t immediately available, there will be a tasty alternative to try.”

Problems exacerbated

Meanwhile the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has moved to reassure the pub sector that there are plenty supplies of beer but suppliers may be offering alternatives. 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, urged HGV drivers to be added to the shortage occupation list or offer temporary visas. 

“As a sector we are working with third-party logistics partners around the clock to ensure as many deliveries as possible. Brewers are actively looking at ways they can still do deliveries as are pub operators trying to get supplies to tenants and lessees,” she said. 

But it is not just the brewers that are finding the supply chain issues challenging. Most recently fast food chain McDonald’s revealed that had removed bottled drinks and milkshakes from its menu due to supply chain issues. 

“As with other manufacturing sectors the past year has seen some challenges regarding pricing and sourcing or raw materials and the shortage of HGV drivers has only exacerbated some of the problems industry face,” said Gavin Partington director general at the British Soft Drinks Association. 

“The soft drinks sector is doing everything it can to maintain supplies to our customers but we urge Government to take further action to support industry, particularly in relation to the driver shortage issue.”

The Morning Advertiser​ recently revealed the pubs could be faced with chicken supply issues​. 

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