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Aussies face Christmas beer scarcity: Limits in some stores

Beer lovers may have to go without their favourite brew over the holidays as the beloved beverage is being rationed across BWS stores as companies face shortages leading into Christmas.

Brand owner Lion and Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) have issued warnings to customers and stockists in regards to delivery delays and “stock challenges”.

A global pallet shortage affecting grocers, manufacturers and assorted industries has forced Lion to shut down production of some lines as it doesn’t have any timber pallets to transport beer across Australia.

The supply issues are forcing BWS stores to place limits for beers such as VB, Pure Blonde and Carlton Draught ahead of the festive season.

Meanwhile, the brewer is prioritising production of its best-selling beer at the cost of other products that are either already out of stock or will be once production comes to a halt.

A bartender pours a glass of Tooheys New beer, a Lion Nathan product, in a bar in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, November 11, 2006. Lion Nathan Ltd., Australia's second-biggest brewer, said profit may fall as much as 5 percent this fiscal year as it increases advertising of beer brands and pays more for sugar and aluminum. Photographer: Andy Shaw/Bloomberg News.
Camera IconBeer lovers may have to go without their favourite brew over the holidays. Andy Shaw/Bloomberg News. Credit: Supplied

Once certain packs of Tooheys long necks and cans, Hahn and Iron Jack cans are sold out, they may not be available until the new year, The Australian reports.

In response, BWS have announced a two-carton limit on some products.

Signs at stores across Australia read the retailer is “currently experiencing delivery delays on some products”.

“There will be a two-carton purchasing limit in store and online for some products,” the sign says.

An Endeavour Group spokesperson said the store is in the process of removing the temporary limits.

“We have over 1000 different beers in our stores, and our cool rooms are filled with stock ahead of Christmas, so customers can be rest assured they will be able to enjoy their favourite brews this summer,” the spokesperson said.

Lion national sales director Warwick Parks has issued warnings to pub owners for the upcoming shortages.

“Regrettably, we now have a large number of our smaller pack SKUs out of stock, and as we indicated previously, we don’t expect our pallet supplies to improve sufficiently to start making these products again until the new year,” he said.

Mr Parks said the company remained “absolutely committed” to keeping top-selling units in stock.

STM Corona beer generic PIC Karin Calvert-Borshoff
Camera IconMexican favourite Corona, imported by CUB, is suffering huge supply issues. Credit: News Limited

Meanwhile, Mexican favourite Corona, imported by CUB, is suffering huge supply issues that mean stores can only order a maximum of 20 cartons per week.

The supply and shipping challenges have been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and disruption to global supply chains.

As a result, some bottle shops and liquor outlets have been put on “rations” as beer supplies dry up.

An internal memo sent between CUB beer sales representatives revealed the Corona shortage.

“I have just been advised this morning that unfortunately CUB are having stock challenges on Corona,” the memo says.

“Up to last week they had felt that our stocks were fairly safe; however, they are facing some massive shipping challenges along with ongoing challenges at the Mexican brewery.

“CUB have now placed ALL customers nationally a maximum order limit on Corona.”

Australian suppliers have been warning for months of the looming timber pallet shortage and how it would disrupt the supply of not only alcohol but fresh food and general merchandise.

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