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CO2 shortage means trouble’s brewing

Lack of carbon dioxide could signal a beer drought

20 July, 2018 — By Billie Manning

Lee Hammerton of the Hammerton Brewery

THE Europe-wide CO2 shortage has hit home, threatening to grind beer production to a halt at an Islington brewery.

The international crisis, which has hit the UK worst, was prompted by an unusually high number of carbon dioxide factory closures across Europe.

The crisis means it has been three weeks since the Hammerton brewery, opposite Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station, has been able to get hold of any CO2, putting Islington drinkers at risk of a beer drought.

“We haven’t been able to force-carbonate any of our beers – make them fizzy, essentially,” said owner Lee Hammerton.

“What we’ve had to do is naturally carbonate them, which is a lot slower and can be quite troublesome, so it’s completely slowed down production.”

Usually, July and August are the slowest months for the brewing and pub industry, but due to the combination of the World Cup and the good weather, demand is higher than usual for the season.

If the crisis is ongoing, the brewery could soon be unable to continue producing enough beer.

“Apparently the factories in Europe are back up and running now, so hopefully the supply chain can restart next week, but if it doesn’t, we’re in trouble,” said Mr Hammerton.

“We’ve been pretty much just about producing enough for our customers but we’re struggling to keep up at the moment.”

According to Mr Hammerton, the suppliers have been getting 600 calls a day from all around the country as breweries try to find a source. “They’ve had calls from Cardiff saying, ‘we’ll drive down to London if you have any’.”

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