Concern has been raised that the beer taps may begin to run dry as soon as next week due to a critical shortage of CO2 in the supply chain.
The facts on the impact on beer production are still somewhat shady, and the number or location of breweries fully stopping production ahead of a potential shutdown is not known.
At least five CO2 plants across Europe have shut for maintenance, according to trade publication, Gasworld, which has put pressure on drink producers across the continent.
There are two production facilities in the UK – one of which is currently shut for maintenance. This is a normal occurrence during the summer months, as the peak production is over winter during demand for fertiliser at ammonia plants, which is where the food grade CO2 is produced.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said it was aware of the situation and that it had already impacted beer production, although it hasn’t named locations - and will continue to monitor the situation carefully.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), 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.”
Brigid questioned how the industry had not foreseen this situation, considering the World Cup and anticipated surge in consumption of pints across the continent and not just in the UK.
Brigid said she has written to CO2 suppliers requesting production recommence. One has written back saying limited production could occur by early July.
The BBPA also reminded its members and pubs to use food grade CO2, including in dispense, and was “concerned” that this was not the “time to go looking for a white van man” for CO2.
The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has said that the shortage has significantly impacted craft beer production yet, although several brewers had contacted stating it had impacted bottling and had received warnings from suppliers.
The head of public affairs for SIBA, James Calder, said: "The shortage of C02 from the two main suppliers in Europe has not yet begun to significantly affect the UK's independent craft brewers, who as well as producing more cask beer - which utilises naturally occurring fizz - brew kegged beer on a much smaller scale than the global brewers.
"However many of our members are reporting warnings from their suppliers, making this shortage an additional worry for British independent craft brewers, who are already scrambling to meet the demand for their beers from drinkers across the UK - particularly with the potential of a continued warm summer and successful World Cup ahead of us!"