CO2 shortage: Booker restricts sales; Ei and Wetherspoons run dry

Beer rationed in Britain because of CO2 shortage

London Pride beer is seen for sale at a Wetherspoon pub in North London

Grabbing a pint in London is a bit trickier these days as a carbon dioxide shortage has forced a major United Kingdom wholesaler to limit the amount of beer it sells to customers.

"Over the last eight weeks, sales of beer and soft drinks have performed really well", Francois Sonneville, analyst at food and agribusiness bank Rabobank said.

There is literally a low-level type of beer rationing in place in the United Kingdom at the moment, as one of the largest wholesalers supplying the food and drinks industry has begun limiting sales of some fizzy alcohols as the weird shortage of food-grade Carbon dioxide continues.

Information about the CO2 shortage in EU was first reported earlier this month by Gas World, describing the shortage as the "worst supply situation to hit the European carbon dioxide business in decades".

Coca-Cola's British arm said it was "currently responding to an industry-wide issue that is impacting the supply of C02 in the UK" by temporarily pausing some of its drinks production lines for short periods.

'We are now working hard with our suppliers to minimise the impact for our customers and can not comment further at this stage'.

Beverage multinationals Heineken and Coca-Cola also fell victims to the gas shortage.

Brigid Simmonds, head of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) which represents brewers and 20,000 United Kingdom pubs, said: 'We are aware of a situation affecting the availability of Carbon dioxide across Europe, which has now started to impact beer producers in the UK. CO2 is also an essential part of the production process for packaging meat.

A Heineken spokeswoman 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".

The company said it was "fully mobilized to try to meet our food and industrial customers' needs in the context of a temporary shortage beyond our control".

What is different this year, according to the British Poultry Council, is lower-than-average production of ammonia, and also therefore CO2, due to lower ammonia prices.

"However, recently we've had some trouble obtaining dry ice from our suppliers due to a European shortage of CO2".

So probably not the best time for drinks companies to be running out of the gas that puts the fizz into beer and sodas.

England will play its third World Cup match against Belgium on Thursday before they go into the knock-out round with a match next Monday or Tuesday.

Supermarket chain Morrisons and online food seller Ocado warned customers of disruption to some frozen product lines.

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