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Pubs chop and change to keep the beer flowing over weekend as CO2 concerns grow

PUBLISHED: 16:14 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:38 29 June 2018

Head brewer Belinda Jennings at Redwell Brewery in Trowse. 
Picture: Sonya Duncan.

Head brewer Belinda Jennings at Redwell Brewery in Trowse. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

The beer is still flowing at pubs in Norfolk - though many have had to swap over to new brands as the CO2 shortage continues.

Breweries and pubs are hoping CO2 supplies return to normal soon. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoBreweries and pubs are hoping CO2 supplies return to normal soon. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With the June heatwave continuing and spirits high on the back of England’s World Cup run, landlords have been plotting to keep cellars full for the coming weeks as the UK’s CO2 shortage continues.

Phil Cutter, landlord at the Murderers in Norwich, said he had swapped Stella 4 in for Amstel, production of which has been hit by the CO2 shortage.

“One of the joys of being a free house is we can choose what we buy in,” he said. “When you’ve got the World Cup and a summer like we have, you can’t afford to be reliant on two or three beers. You have to keep volumes up and in stock.

“This has probably come at the worst time for the pub industry, because we need a decent supply. What you don’t want is to get to the week of the World Cup final and find you’ve got no beer.

Norwich’s Redwell Brewery, gas supplies are high enough to last for a week or two.

Head brewer Belinda Jennings said brewing had not been interrupted yet but suppliers were keeping a tight rein on how much CO2 they were selling.

“We are OK at the moment but our suppliers have been careful not to over-supply - no one is allowed to over-order,” she said.

“We only use a small amount of CO2. Maybe the bigger boys don’t have the same relationships with their suppliers.”

As well as to carbonate its beers, Redwell uses the gas to purge oxygen from its tanks during the brewing process, for which nitrogen could be used instead if CO2 production does not return to normal levels.

Ms Jennings added: “We’ve got the supplies at the moment, but the next week or two will be the test.”

St Peter’s Brewery near Bungay brews four million bottles a year, but expects to avoid the worst.

“We have no problem,” said chief executive Steve Magnall. “We managed to get a delivery of CO2, before this started, and we are having a new bottling line put in, so we are stopping bottling for two weeks. We are not affected.

“There is no need for anyone to go without a beer,” he said.

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