Saturday, 20 July 2019

Pubs haven’t lost fizz despite carbon dioxide shortage

PUBS in Henley say the carbon dioxide shortage has failed to take the fizz out of their trade.

Operator Brakspear says it is business as usual despite the dwindling stocks of gas, which is used in fizzy drinks.

Emma Sweet, marketing manager for the company, said the only problem had been with some drinks having to be substituted.

She said: “By and large, the European CO2 shortage hasn’t had too much of an impact on our pubs.

“Some beers, ciders and carbonated drinks have been substituted but otherwise it’s business as usual.

“There is still some uncertainty of supply but we are working hard to minimise disruption.

“It’s a busy time with the good weather, the World Cup and Henley Royal Regatta so demand is higher than usual but we’re hoping all will get back to normal within a couple of weeks.”

Carbon dioxide is used to add fizz to drinks including beer and to extend the shelf life of meat, poultry and vegetables as it stops microbial growth and does not affect the flavour or textural properties of food.

It is also used to stun animals before slaughter and can be transported and used safely.

The gas is used in the production of some lagers and pubs use it to pump drinks to the taps or up to the bar from their cellars.

The gas is a by-product of the manufacturing of ammonia, the main material in plant fertiliser. When it is released it is captured and sold to other industries. The shortage has been caused by the high number of simultaneous closures of factories producing the gas in the UK and across Europe.

Five are currently shut for planned maintenance or due to technology failures. At one point only two of the five UK plans were in operation.

The supply is expected to get back to normal in the next two weeks.

Nick Willson, who owns the freehold of the Flowing Spring in Playhatch, said he had benefited from selling mainly real ale.

“We’ve not had any trouble,” he said. “There is a real shortage of Amstel at the moment because there is CO2 in it but otherwise for us it has been business as usual.

“The CO2 is used to drive up the beers through the cylinders to the bar but there is no problem with getting cylinders.” Neil Ainsworth, who runs the Argyll in Market Place, Henley, said he had only experienced problems getting Kronenbourg, which is brewed by Heineken.

He said: “We haven’t had any major issues. Our gas supplier has been very loyal to his regular customers and has not been allowing anyone to stockpile.”

Chris Hearn, who owns the Loddon Brewery in Dunsden, said the CO2 shortage would only affect the business if it persisted for several months.

As the brewery produces cask beer it does not need to add gas to it, so only its bottled beers would be affected.

Mr Hearn said: “Any CO2 we need is produced in the production process.

“If the shortage did continue for another couple of months we could have issues with our bottled beer because we use CO2 in the production process.”

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