Warnings of bottled beer shortage amid rising production costs

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Warnings of bottled beer shortage amid rising production costs

Related tags Beer Glass Inflation

A Scotland-based wholesaler has warned the UK could see bottled beer stocks plummet as a result of soaring production costs.

Julie Dunn, operations director of Blantyre-based Dunns Food and Drinks, has warned that a number of global suppliers are already dealing with glassware shortages, as prices have jumped by 80% in the last twelve months due to rising energy costs. 

It comes after beer experts in Germany said the country could be facing a glass bottle shortage this summer, with small and medium sized breweries expected to bear the brunt of the impact.

Dunn believes it is only a matter of time before the shortage is felt more widely within the beer industry in the UK. 

She said:  “It won’t be long before the glassware shortage hits UK consumers. Our wine and spirits suppliers from around the globe are facing ongoing struggles that will have a knock-on effect. As a result, there could be less variety in the bottled beers we see on UK shelves.

“Specialist bottles and glassware hold a very important place in the heritage of the beer industry and I expect that while some breweries will convert to cans to ensure consistent supply, others will look at this as devaluing the brand, so will inevitably pass the additional cost onto beer drinkers.

“We sell a huge amount of beer from Germany, so I would expect us to feel a fairly seismic hit in the very near future.”

In order to meet demand, brewers in Scotland are already taking action to combat rising production costs. 

Edinburgh-based brewery Vault City Brewing, which recently announced the launch of its core range across 200 independent bars, pubs and taprooms, has said it will switch to predominantly can-only releases from next month.

Steven Smith-Hay, Vault City’s co-founder, said: “We started introducing cans to our release schedule in January because of rising costs and challenges with availability. This was initially just for our session sours and supermarket range, but because production prices are so high we’ve decided to make all our beers can-only from June, with the exception of a few special releases each year. 

“We’re paying roughly 65 pence per bottle just now, which is around a 15 pence jump on what we were paying six months ago. If you think about the volume of beer we’re bottling even as a microbrewery, the costs really start to pile up. It’s just not viable to keep going in that direction.” 

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