Booker rations beer and cider in face of CO2 shortage

As the CO2 crisis heats up, Booker has announced that it is rationing beer and cider to its customers

Booker has capped sales to its customers at 10 cases of beer and five of cider or soft drinks as the chronic shortage of CO2 has disrupted supplies.

A Booker spokesperson said, “Due to the international shortage of CO2, we are experiencing some supply issues on soft drinks and beer. We are currently working hard with our suppliers to minimise the impact for our customers. Where restrictions apply it is for 10 cases of a particular line, so a customer can purchase 300 cans of Budweiser with 300 cans of Stella etc. per branch per day. This satisfies the vast majority of Booker customers, preserves availability and avoids any ‘sub-wholesaling.’ We are very grateful for the support of our customers and suppliers as we manage the warm weather, World Cup and some CO2 issues.”

This follows a growing number of suppliers complaining of disruption such as Heineken and Coca-Cola Great Britain. The latter has issued a statement saying that while its focus is on limiting the effect the CO2 shortage will have on the availability of its products, it has temporarily paused some production lines for short periods.

This comes hot on the heels of the concerns raised by James Bielby, Chief Executive of FWD about suppliers withholding supply for the wholesale sector. “Our members are reporting that suppliers who are anticipating shortages of beer and carbonated drinks are rationing supply or even cancelling orders to meet their commitments to larger retailers. With the current hot weather and the World Cup going on, the impulse channel is an absolutely key route to market for these products and any supplier who reduces wholesalers’ allocation will miss out on one of the biggest sales boosts of the year.

“On behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we are collating wholesalers’ experiences of the shortage.”

CO2 producers in the UK and mainland Europe have scaled back operations for maintenance, causing a shortage of the gas, whose many uses include improving the shelf life of packaged food and creating dry ice to keep products cool during transport.

Booker CO2 FWD suppliers wholesale