Supplies of food-grade CO2 have been shrinking as plants the produce some of the necessary materials closed due to technical issues. The UK has been the worst hit by the shortage, with just one major supplier currently in operation.
At least one UK gas supplier has started to ration orders, with one brewer warning that production could grind to a halt as early as next week.
Most drinks manufacturers are thought to hold at least two weeks’ worth of stocks, while retailers such as bars and bars generally hold more.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: ‘We are aware of a situation affecting the availability of CO2 across Europe, which has now started to impact beer producers in the UK.
‘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.’
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Beavertown Brewery’s Sam Millard told The i newspaper: ‘It’s going to affect everyone. We’re all very heavily reliant on CO2, not just as part of the brewing process but also as part of the packaging process.’
‘It has hit at absolutely the wrong time of year. The height of summer and the World Cup is when people want to be down the pub, drinking beer, or they want to get cans to take home.
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‘We can modify our processes for this week which will see us through but if it goes on any longer than that then we’ll just have to halt packaging.’
The shortage could also hit BBQers, as CO2 used in the packaging of meat and salads runs short.