Lockdown officially lifted last week across Scotland, and people flocked to local restaurants, bars, and pubs. But amid the celebration, a liquid crisis is looming, begging the question: What is a pub without its beer?
Scottish pubs are facing that very reality following weeks of labor shortages. The situation has impacted beer delivery, specifically, causing unexpectedly low stocks of packaged and draft beer.
At first, deliveries were falling short by 75 percent. But by the end of last week, entire orders had been canceled, according to the BBC.
While some pubs have been able to turn to locally owned breweries, the supply of mainstream brands has reached a bottleneck.
Aside from labor issues, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (STLA) cited a shortage of carbon dioxide as another reason for the current difficulties. This isn’t the first case.
Back in 2018, a CO2 crisis in Europe left pubs and bars rationing beer to make up for the lack of gas needed to serve draft pints. Supply eventually leveled out, but not without consequence (and a population craving booze on tap).
The industry is beginning to make “tentative steps towards recovery” STLA managing director Colin Wilkinson explained on BBC Radio. But the widespread crisis is far from over, and the supply chain needs to be mended, he said.
“We are coming to the end of summer. We’ve missed out a great deal on the summer season, which is our busiest time,” Wilkinson added. “This is just a perfect storm against the industry.”