- As The Australian reports, Australia’s two beer giants, Lion and Carlton & United Breweries have warned customers of “stocking challenges” ahead of Christmas.
- One of the key culprits is a dearth of wooden pallets, a key supply chain input used to transport stock.
- Australia’s risk of a beer shortage is the latest in a series of similar problems happening around the world, involving delays, shortages and skyrocketing prices.
Nightmare without beer
As The Australian reports, Australia’s two beer giants, Lion and Carlton & United Breweries have warned customers of “stocking challenges” ahead of Christmas, with lengthy delays leading to reduced production of some of Australia’s most popular beers.
The shortage is affecting some of the country’s most popular beers, including VB, Pure Blonde, Carlton, Melbourne Bitter and Great Northern beers. And some beers, including Tooheys, Hahn and Iron Jacks, will be out of stock completely over Christmas.
Bottle-shop giant BWS puts two-carton limits on beers like VB, Pure Blonde and Carlton Draft ahead of the festive season. Signs have been posted on store-fronts warning thirsty customers supplies are short. “There will be a two-carton purchasing limit in store and online for some products,” a notification at BWS said. However, this purchase limit is expected to be lifted in the middle of next week.
Meanwhile, Carlton & United is struggling to get sufficient shipments of Corona, which it imports from Mexico. “In the lead-up to Christmas we are distributing it fairly to retailers across Australia to help limit shortages,” a spokesperson said.
The scarcity of wooden pallets
One of the key culprits is a dearth of wooden pallets, a key supply chain input used to transport stock. The spike in Australia’s property market has led to a surge in timber imports for building, which has in turn created a shortage of timber to use for making wooden pallets. Australian suppliers have warned of a shortage of wooden pallets and its impact on the transport of fresh food, beer and general merchandise.
Sourcing them has become increasingly difficult amid a nationwide shortage, forcing Lion to prioritize its most popular products as the busy holiday season approaches. Products less in demand have been left to dwindle out of stock, unlikely to be back in production before 2022. The company is currently trying to find an alternative source, it said in an emailed statement.
Australia’s risk of a beer shortage is the latest in a series of similar problems happening around the world, involving delays, shortages and skyrocketing prices. The reason is strong demand and supply imbalance as economies reopen. The major shipping lines have faced unusual congestion for months, messing with business plans for many companies.
However, Bloomberg is optimistic that, the majority of Australia’s beer supply being domestically produced, it will be less affected by troubles in the international supply chain. Therefore, “relieve sadness after 2021 is still possible”.