'We saw it coming': Pubs vow city will not run dry by stockpiling beer

Jeff Davies, landlord at The Mischief on Fye Bridge, Norwich

Jeff Davies, landlord at The Mischief on Fye Bridge, Norwich - Credit: Archant

Shrewd landlords in Norwich have begun stockpiling beer amid warnings that booze could be the next commodity in short supply. 

The problem has been prompted by the HGV driver shortage as well as driver strikes planned this week at the logistics firm behind Heineken - which supplies the UK with 40pc of its beer. 

But landlords in Norwich spotted the problem a mile off and insist summer in the city will not be dampened by anything other than the weather. 

Jeff Davies, landlord at the Mischief on Fye Bridge, said had been expecting issues with beer supply having faced issues since reopening: "When pubs reopened there was an immediate shift from people buying beer in cans in the supermarket and buying pints in the pub - which meant switching to kegs. 

"Then in the trade press we started seeing mention of the driver shortage, so we saw it coming and started getting ready.

"The problem we have at the moment is that Heineken owns brands like Moretti and Amstel as well. I've found that you tend to have an issue with them one at a time, so I just started buying a few more here and there and keeping some extra stock in. 

"I've only got so much space though, the disruption can't go on forever." 

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Likewise Lauren Gregory, who owns The Garnet in Norwich's Haymarket said she and her supplies had been aware of supply issues and had adjusted orders accordingly. 

FLASHBACK: Lauren Gregory at the Sir Garnet in 2015. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Lauren Gregory at The Garnet - Credit: Matthew Usher

She said: "We've ordered maybe a third more than usual as opposed to outright stockpiling - that's been from brands which are based in the EU which logistically has been more difficult to get hold of. 

"To be honest it's not a major concern though because of how much we can buy locally. If there's anything we really can't get hold of here we can always rely more on our local suppliers."

Philip Cutter the landlord at The Murdrers & Gardeners Arms in Norwich pictured in 2019. Picture: Ne

Phil Cutter of The Murderers - Credit: Archant

She was echoed by Phil Cutter, landlord at The Murderers in Timberhill, who said: "There has been a bit of disruption - we can't buy the barrel sizes we usually purchase. But I know that the breweries we have locally can easily step in with comparable products so I'm not too concerned."

  • What are the breweries saying? 

Woodforde's - which is based in Woodbastwick - has overcome the problems it faced in the supply chain thanks to its autonomy. 

Chief executive Joe Parks said: "We've had a few minor issues - getting hold of cardboard for packaging - but that's about the extent of it. 

Woodeforde's brewery chief executive, Joe Parks, with two of their beer brands, Wherry and Fifty Two

Woodforde's brewery chief executive, Joe Parks - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"We are really lucky because we have our own drivers and distribution channels which means we're not having the same logistics problems other brands are. Our drivers are turning up for work every day and our beer is selling extremely well, so it's a very positive time for us."

Likewise at Redwell Brewing in the city centre a spokesman said: "We run all of our own logistics so haven't experienced any issues in that regard.

"Although we recognise through the trade there have been continual problems with the driver shortages replayed through our clients; were fortunate to have experienced very few issues."