UK Supply Chain Problems Leave Pubs Short of Beer

By Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.
September 1, 2021 Updated: September 1, 2021

The supply chain issues that have dogged some retailers in recent weeks are now leaving some British pubs short of beer.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has apologised after its supplies of Carling and Coors were affected by the nationwide supply issues.

The firm did not provide further details regarding the supply issues but it is understood it is directly related to a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said, “We are experiencing some supply problems with both Carling and Coors, which means that some pubs do not have the products available.”

“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused. We know that the brewers are trying to resolve the issue.”

Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin has been a passionate supporter of Brexit and earlier this year denied reports that his pubs were impacted by Brexit-related staff shortages.

According to the haulage industry, there is a shortfall of around 90,000 lorry drivers.

The government has rejected calls to fill the shortfall with foreign drivers by adding HGV drivers to the skilled workers list.

Industry groups say that training for new drivers is taking months, with a backlog of 40,000 missed HGV tests.

The government has promised to speed up the testing process.

A survey by KMPG on Sept. 1 found that nearly two thirds of UK chief executives have seen their supply chains come under strain during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, other data suggest the squeeze in the supply chain may be starting to be passed onto consumers as an ongoing drop in food prices appears to be levelling off.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) warned that higher prices were looming.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “While it is good news that overall retail prices fell year-on-year, there was a slight rise in prices on the previous month.

“There are some modest indications that rising costs are starting to filter through into product prices.”

Food retailers are fighting to keep their prices down but are coming under pressure from “rising commodity and shipping costs as well as Brexit-related red tape,” she said.

“Disruption has been limited so far, but in the run-up to Christmas the situation could get worse, and customers may see reduced choice and increased prices for their favourite products and presents.”

Retailers are starting to offer incentives to bring in drivers. Tesco has been offering lorry drivers a £1,000 ($1,370) joining bonus.

Morrisons and the Co-op have both said they’ll retrain staff to become lorry drivers.

Other high-street names, including McDonalds, Nandos, and Subway have been hit by supply problems in the last few days, caused by labour shortages in various industries.

PA contributed to this report.

Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.