Wholesaler warns beer shortage 'inevitable' as bottle prices jump 80%

Beer is the most popular choice of alcoholic drink in the UK, accounting for more than £7.1bn of spending in 2020.  

Glasgow wholesaler Dunns Food and Drinks warns global beer shortage ‘inevitable’ as glass bottle prices jump 80% iStock
Brewery says price has jumped by 15 pence per bottle in six months.

Dunns Food and Drinks has warned that a global beer shortage is “inevitable” as the price of glass bottles jumps by 80%.

The wholesaler has alleged that global suppliers are already dealing with glassware shortages, as prices have jumped in the last 12 months due to rising energy costs. 

The warning comes after beer experts in Germany said the country could be facing a glass bottle shortage this summer, with small and medium-sized breweries expected to bear the brunt of the impact.

Dunns has warned that since the UK sells a “huge” amount of German beer, the shortage will have a “knock-on effect” on the wine and spirits market, and could pass the additional cost onto consumers.

In order to meet demand, brewers in Scotland are already taking action to combat rising production costs.

Edinburgh-based brewery Vault City Brewing will switch to predominantly can-only releases from next month.

Beer remains the most popular choice of alcoholic drink in the UK, accounting for more than £7.1bn of spend in 2020.  

Julie Dunn, operations director of Dunns Food and Drinks, said: “It won’t be long before the glassware shortage hits UK consumers. Our wine and spirits suppliers from around the globe are facing ongoing struggles that will have a knock-on effect. As a result, there could be less variety in the bottled beers we see on UK shelves.

“Specialist bottles and glassware hold a very important place in the heritage of the beer industry and I expect that while some breweries will convert to cans to ensure consistent supply, others will look at this as devaluing the brand, so will inevitably pass the additional cost onto beer drinkers.

“We sell a huge amount of beer from Germany, so I would expect us to feel a fairly seismic hit in the very near future. However, Dunns will always endeavour to source the best possible range it can.”

Steven Smith-Hay, Vault City’s co-founder, said: “We started introducing cans to our release schedule in January because of rising costs and challenges with availability. This was initially just for our session sours and supermarket range, but because production prices are so high we’ve decided to make all our beers can-only from June, with the exception of a few special releases each year. 

“We’re paying roughly 65p per bottle just now, which is around a 15p jump on what we were paying six months ago. If you think about the volume of beer we’re bottling even as a microbrewery, the costs really start to pile up. It’s just not viable to keep going in that direction.”