Small brewers aim to resuce drinkers from beer drought

Britain’s independent brewers are looking to fill the gap should industrial action lead to beer shortages.

Dray delivery workers at GXO Logistics, which delivers about 40% of all beer to British pubs, voted last week for two 24-hour strikes, on August 24 and September 2.

Around 1,000 staff at 26 sites voted for the action over a 1.4% pay deal, described by trade union Unite as  “paltry” in the face of rising inflation.

Unite national officer Joe Clarke said: “Our members have suffered great financial hardship during the pandemic, with some of them losing up to £10,000 through being furloughed and picking up no overtime, so it is no surprise that they have voted almost unanimously for industrial action.

“The threat of a late summer beer drought now increases for Britain’s thirsty beer drinkers as our members make 40% of the beer deliveries in the country.

“This disruption would be on top of the pingdemic and the well-publicised HGV driver shortages that are already hitting the sector.” 

James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, said trade customers should look outside the big brands to keep the beer flowing. 

“Amid fears of taps running dry, pubs, bars and restaurants should look beyond mass-produced beers from the globals and speak to their local independent breweries.

“Being local they have the flexibility to brew and get beer directly into venues up and down the UK.

“British independent breweries are producing some of the best beers anywhere in the world and can be found across every corner of the UK.

“They are brewing a hugely diverse range of styles from lagers and pale ales, to porters, stouts and, of course, cask real ale.

“As the hospitality industry fully reopens the UK’s independent brewers are ready and waiting to fill the supply gaps we’re seeing hit an already struggling hospitality industry.”

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