Wetherspoons' Carling and Coors deliveries hit in latest supply chain disruption

·3-min read

Watch: Wetherspoons becomes latest brand to suffer shortages as supply of some beers runs low

Wetherspoons (JDW.L) said on Wednesday that Carling and Coors beers are the latest casualty of the UK supply chain crunch, as some of its pubs had not received deliveries of the drinks. 

The chain said this was as a result of industrial action by delivery drivers on behalf of Heineken — its biggest supplier. Heineken supplies 6 of the 23 draught lines it normally offers. 

"We understand that the industrial action we refer to has now been called off, which, we hope, means that the supply issues will be resolved in early course," said a Wetherspoons spokesperson. 

This is a step up from last week, when the chain said it was working with alternative suppliers to replace some items on its menu, but that it was able to offer its full food and drink menu in its pubs.

Over the last weeks multiple nationwide chains have said they are running short of products due to a shortage of HGV drivers needed to deliver the products. 

A dual hit of COVID-19 lockdowns and Brexit has slowed deliveries.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 19: A member of staff pours a pint for a customer at Wetherspoons pub The Moon Under Water on July 19, 2021 in Manchester, England. As of 12:01 on Monday, July 19, England will drop most of its remaining Covid-19 social restrictions, such as those requiring indoor mask-wearing and limits on group gatherings, among other rules. These changes come despite rising infections, pitting the country's vaccination programme against the virus's more contagious Delta variant. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)
Over the last weeks multiple nationwide chains have said they are running short of products due to a shortage of HGV drivers needed to deliver the products. Photo: Charlotte Tattersall/Getty

Last week, McDonalds also said it had a nationwide outage of milkshakes. KFC said it had run out of cheese and salt sachets in some outlets, as well as having to pivot to "emergency" packaging as its branded bags hadn't been delivered.

Supply shortages could hit as far ahead as Christmas, suppliers warned, as the future availability of pigs-in-blankets and roast potatoes was put into question.

Read more: Supply issues in UK manufacturing pushes up prices

A Wetherspoons spokesperson said: “We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.

“We know that the brewers are trying to resolve the issue.”

A Molson Coors (TAP) spokesperson said it was experiencing intermittent pockets of pressure in its supply network which were affecting Wetherspoons. 

"We’re working around the clock with our customers and third-party logistics partners to ensure we minimise any impact to our customers.

"After such a difficult period for our industry, it’s heart-breaking to be letting any customer down and we will continue to do everything in our power to get our much-loved brands back on every Wetherspoons bar.”

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) reported in July that there is a shortage of 100,000 drivers and warned the situation has reached a “crisis point” with critical supply chains failing.

It said that many drivers have gone back to their home countries either due to uncertainty over new Brexit rules, or because of UK’s COVID-related lockdown restrictions. Many have not returned.

On top of this, HGV (heavy goods vehicle) drivers are made up of an ageing population that is retiring; and there is a major backlog of tests needed to be taken before drivers can qualify to operate lorries, because the tests were put on hold during the pandemic.

Watch: McDonald’s runs out of milkshakes and bottled drinks in UK

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