Sadly for beer drinkers, the shortage shows no signs of ending anytime soon, with some U.K. retailers beginning to ration the amount of beer customers can buy, in a bid to maintain some kind of steady supply.
The country’s dwindling stock is linked to an ongoing dearth of food-grade carbon dioxide (CO2) currently engulfing Europe, as reported by CNN. The CO2 shortfall leaves brewers without crucial bubbles for beer, and pubs without gas for draft lines.
Food-grade CO2 is a byproduct in fertilizer production, traditionally supplied by major ammonia plants. Yet five major European plants are currently closed for scheduled summer maintenance.
An alternative supply of CO2 are bio-ethanol plants. But in an unfortunate coincidence, many throughout the continent are also closed for repair work, with just one currently operational in the U.K.
With beer supplies starting to wane, food wholesaler Booker — which is used by bars, restaurants, and traders — on Tuesday announced it would start rationing beer and cider, limiting customers to 10 cases of beer and five of cider.
Large pub chains, including Wetherspoons, are slowly running out of draft beer, and some branches have already completely run out of the popular John Smith’s ale and Strongbow cider.
While there’s never a good time to run out of beer, the arrival of the shortage could scarcely be less convenient. England recently qualified for the knockout stages of the World Cup, meaning soccer fans may have to face the prospect of cheering on their nation beer-less. Not to mention, the country is in the middle of a “scorching” heatwave. Hang in there, England.