JD Wetherspoon hit by beer shortages as supply chain crisis continues

01 September 2021 by
JD Wetherspoon hit by beer shortages as supply chain crisis continues

JD Wetherspoon is experiencing shortages of some beer brands as supply chain issues continue to impact hospitality.

The group said it was unable to offer pints of Carling or Coors in an unconfirmed number of its 870 UK pubs.

Wetherspoon blamed the issue on the threat of strikes by delivery drivers for Heineken, its biggest supplier, last month. The industrial action by around 1,000 drayman at GXO Logistics Drinks was eventually called off, but pubs continued to report issues with deliveries.

A spokesperson said: "Wetherspoon usually sells 23 different ‘brands' on draught in each of its pubs. Some pubs sell a small number more and some pubs sell a small number less.

"Last week, we understand, there was industrial action by delivery drivers acting on behalf of Heineken, our biggest supplier. Heineken supply six of the 23 draught lines we normally offer. As a result of a shortage of deliveries of Heineken, some other products ran out in some locations – for example Carling and Coors lagers.

"We understand that the industrial action we refer to has now been called off, which, we hope, means that the supply issues will be resolved in early course.

"As of today, the majority of pubs, we believe, are now fully stocked, but some pubs may be short of a few brands, pending deliveries in the next few days."

Wetherspoon is the latest hospitality group to report product shortages due to ongoing issues with the supply chain. Milkshakes are still off the menu at McDonald's in England, Scotland, and Wales while Gregg's said it is seeing‘temporary interruptions' in supply.

Last month Nando's was forced to close around 50 restaurants and lend 70 employees to short-staffed suppliers. All restaurants have since reopened.

The problems are being exacerbated by a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with both Covid and Brexit contributing to a backlog of driving tests and thousands of drivers returning to the EU.

Many suppliers are unable to deliver ingredients on schedule, although foodservice firm Country Range has begun buying and hiring smaller trucks to ensure they can fulfil orders.

Some wholesalers are having to offer hospitality customers alternative products, raising concerns it will be more difficult for operators to keep track of allergens in their dishes following the introduction of Natasha's Law in October.

Image: Yau Ming Low / Shutterstock

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