Booker Wholesale has imposed restrictions on the sale of some drinks, including beer and cider, in response to the recent CO₂ shortages affecting the UK supply chain.
The group has introduced a cap limiting customers to 10 cases of beer and five of cider or soft drinks on some lines, affecting thousands of independent retailers as well as bars and restaurants.
The move is further evidence that a lack of CO₂ is impacting on the food and drinks industry. The shortages of the gas are understood to have been caused by a longer than usual break in the production of ammonia, a key source of food grade CO₂.
CO₂ producers in the UK and northern Europe have scaled back operations for maintenance during the summer, leading to a shortage of the gas.
A Booker spokeswoman said: “Due to the international shortage of CO₂, we are experiencing some supply issues on soft drinks and beer. We are currently working hard with our suppliers to minimise the impact for our customers.
“Where restrictions apply it is for 10 cases of a particular line so a customer can purchase 300 cans of Budweiser with 300 cans of Stella etc per branch per day. This satisfies the vast majority of Booker customers, preserves availability and avoids any ‘sub-wholesaling’. We are very grateful for the support of our customers and suppliers as we manage the warm weather, World Cup and some CO2 issues.”
Premier retailer Naresh Gajri, of Cranhill Conveneince Store in Glasgow, said: “At the moment it is only Booker that are restricting the sale of some drinks. No other wholesaler is having this problem at the moment but it does mean that I’m going to have to get someone to help me get stock from places like Costco.
“Usually, I get deliveries from Booker twice a week but in order to keep up with demand during the summer and the World Cup I’m going to have to top-up on stock from other places.”