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Beer Shortage Is a Nightmare Before Christmas for Austr...

Business Maverick

International Finance

Beer Shortage Is a Nightmare Before Christmas for Australians

A glass of beer at a pub in Sydney. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg
By Bloomberg
10 Dec 2021 0

For Australians heading into the festive season, the real nightmare before Christmas is unfolding: there’s a shortage of beer.

The nation’s two biggest brewers — Lion and Carlton & United Breweries — have flagged protracted delays and lower production of some of the beer-loving country’s most popular brews due to supply chain problems. That’s sparked fears major retail chains might start imposing limits on booze purchases at the worst possible time, with millions of Australians only recently emerging from a series of bleak lockdowns and hoping for a summer holiday season resembling some kind of normality.One of the key culprits is a dearth of wooden pallets, a key supply chain input used to transport stock. Sourcing them has become increasingly difficult amid a nationwide shortage, a position which has forced Lion, the maker of brands like Tooheys, James Boag and Furphy, to cut back on production and prioritize more popular products. The company is currently trying to source alternatives, it said in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, Carlton & United is struggling to get sufficient shipments of Corona, which it imports from Mexico. “In the lead-up to Christmas we are distributing it fairly to retailers across Australia to help limit shortages,” a spokesperson said.

Read more about the global supply chain snarls

The dire developments are the latest in a litany of similar tales involving delays, shortages and soaring prices around the world, driven by massive demand and supply imbalances as economies reopen. Major shipping lines have been weighed down by extraordinary bottlenecks for months on end, with lengthy disruptions upending business schedules and causing havoc in markets.

Not all is lost. With the majority of Australia’s beer supplies manufactured on-shore — and therefore less impacted by chokeholds in international supply chains — drowning one’s sorrows after the year that was 2021 still looks entirely possible.

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