Beer shortage fears as Budweiser and Heineken hit by demand as pubs reopen

Budweiser and Heineken are the worst affected brewers amid a major beer shortage as demand soars after pubs reopened, it has been claimed.

Retailers and wholesalers said there are supply issues on multiple core beer lines, with a shortage of drivers also part of the problem.

It comes as pubs, bars and restaurants in England prepare to re-open for indoor trading from May 17 just weeks after the hospitality industry was allowed to begin serving al fresco.

Experts had predicted the initial easing of lockdown on April 12 would see punters sinking 92 pints a second in their local boozers – and that strain on the industry appears to be showing already.

Industry magazine The Grocer was told by one multi-convenience retailer a “perfect storm” of pressures is coming, with “a lack of drivers, an aluminium shortage and brewers diverting beer into kegs for the reopening of the on-trade as opposed to canning it”.

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A ‘perfect storm’ of pressures is reportedly set to hit beer supplies

Another said wholesalers were “not getting the allocations of stock they need and that’s on top of the range reviews last year which resulted in rationalised ranges”.

While a buying group insider added distribution levels were “as bad as 50% for some of the biggest brands following in-store audits”.

Heineken has reportedly been struggling to meet the increased demand in recent weeks with kegs of its Birra Moretti and Amstel particularly hard to come by.

A pub regular has his first pint of beer following lockdown in the beer garden of the Queen Head public house on April 12, 2021 in Halesworth
Pubs are set to welcome punters inside from May 17

A Heineken spokesperson told the publication demand “continues to surpass our most optimistic forecasts”, adding that outlets that were trading again were “selling up to 100% of pre-Covid levels”.

Meanwhile, Budweiser Brewing Group wholesale and convenience sales director Jessica Markowski, said the company is working to meet demand and hadn’t “seen any significant shortages”.

But she added: “Some of our customers may be experiencing some delays, due to external factors including the shortage of drivers affecting the industry.”

Combined with Brexit, the pandemic has seen many EU nationals returning home, plenty of whom were hauliers, resulting in a shortage of drivers, according to reports.

The Mirror has contacted Heineken and BBG for further comment.

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