The carbon dioxide that gives beer bubbles is a byproduct of ammonia produced for use in fertilizer. Several major ammonia plants in Europe have closed for maintenance, leading to a shortage of carbon dioxide and thus beer.
Booker, a major UK wholesaler owned by Tesco (TSCDY) has confirmed that it’s limiting customers such as bars and grocers to 10 cases of beer (300 cans) per brand a day.
The problem is most acute in the United Kingdom, where only one ammonia plant is operating normally. Food and drink industry groups expect the shortage to last a few more weeks at least. Heineken warned that kegs from some brands, including Amstel, may not be available in Britain.
The timing could not be worse with the World Cup fever in full swing after England advanced from the Group round with wins over Tunisia and Panama.