Wetherspoon apologises after beer hit by supply chain issues

Wetherspoon said some of its pubs failed to receive Carling and Coors beer deliveries. Credit: PA

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has apologised after some beer brands were unavailable at some of its branches amid issues with the UK’s supply chain.

It said some pubs had not received deliveries of Carling and Coors beer.

A shortage of lorry drivers blamed on Brexit rules and the pandemic and factory staffing issues attributed to Covid-19 isolation rules have caused disruption in the country's supply chain.

McDonald’s, Nando’s and KFC have also been affected in recent weeks.

Wetherspoon spokesperson Eddie Gershon said: “We are experiencing some supply problems with both Carling and Coors, which means that some pubs do not have the products available.

“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused. We know that the brewers are trying to resolve the issue.”

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said the company is ‘cautiously optimistic about future prospects’ Credit: PA

Although Wetherspoon did not give more details about the supply issues, it is understood it is related to the shortage of HGV drivers.

Wetherspoons blamed industrial action by delivery drivers who work for Heineken - who make six of the 23 draughts Wetherspoons stock - for the shortage of Carling and Coors which are made by the Molson Coors Beverage Company.

They said: "As a result of a shortage of deliveries of Heineken, some other products ran out in some locations – for example Carling and Coors lagers."

They said as of Wednesday they believe the majority of their pubs were fully stocked but added "some pubs may be short of a few brands, pending deliveries in the next few days."

A spokesperson for Molson Coors Beverage Company, which owns the Carling and Coors brands, said: “Like many in our great British brewing and pub sector we have been hit by the HGV driver shortage."

They said had good supply but their networks were having "pockets of pressure" which are affecting some Wetherspoons pubs.

Bosses at the Road Haulage Association warned last week there is a shortfall of around 100,000 drivers.

They said this has been caused by thousands of European drivers leaving the country during the pandemic, and are urging the government to add drivers to the Shortage Occupation List to make it easier for overseas workers to plug the shortage.

Wetherspoon founder and chair Tim Martin, who has been a Brexit supporter, earlier this year denied reports his pubs were impacted by Brexit-related staff shortages.

Costa and Greggs reported stock shortages in some of its ingredients last week.

Over the weekend, Costa confirmed there was a "temporary stock shortage of decaf coffee, which is due to a production issue from earlier in the summer".

McDonald's also ran out of milkshakes and bottled drinks in all its UK restaurants, it was reported last Tuesday.

Nando's had to shut 45 restaurants as it did not have enough chicken earlier this month.

KFC had also earlier warned that some items would be missing from their menus due to supply issues.

Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire/PA Images

Supermarkets and industry experts have also warned of the prospect of food shortages at Christmas.

Tesco chair John Allan said last week the shortage caused cancelled orders for products such as bread at around 100 Iceland stores, and deliveries of soft drinks had dropped 50% by volume.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One he believes there may be some shortages around the Christmas period.

Nick Allen, from the British Meat Processors Association warned pigs in blankets and turkeys could be off the menu this Christmas if acute staff shortages continue to threaten food supplies.