CO2 shortage: Britain’s biggest pub chain runs low on beer brands


Britain’s biggest pub group says some outlets are running out of certain beer brands as CO2 gas shortages continue to hit the food and drink sectors.

Ei Group, which has 4,500 properties, said it was working with publicans to source alternative beers where needed.

Some Wetherspoon pubs are temporarily without draught John Smith’s and Strongbow cider.

Many pub landlords are unable to pick and choose which brands they can sell because of restrictions.

It comes ahead of England’s World Cup group match with Belgium on Thursday, and predictions that the current UK heatwave could continue into the weekend.

Factory closures

Carbon dioxide has multiple uses in the food and drink industries, from putting the gas in beer and cider, stunning farm animals before slaughter, and as a preservative to increase the shelf-life of packaged products.

But the temporary closure of some UK and mainland European factories involved in producing the gas has created a shortage.

Ei Group, the former Enterprise Inns, would not disclose which brands are out of stock or running low. However, it is thought to include some Heineken products.

An Ei spokesman said: “We are aware of the issue relating to a shortage in the supply of CO2 and are working with our suppliers to minimise any disruption to our customers and our publicans.”

A Wetherspoon spokesman said some of its pubs would be without John Smith’s and Strongbow cider, which are both are made by Heineken.

He added: “Wetherspoon has the advantage that it sources its wide range of drinks from a number of suppliers, so has not been too badly affected.

“Heineken has been the company with the biggest issues and they have told us that all is getting back to normal.”

‘Full capacity’

Heineken said last week that the CO2 scarcity had caused production problems.

A spokeswoman said on Wednesday: “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.”