Tuesday 17 August 2021 3:42 pm

Pubs run dry amid HGV driver shortage

Pubs have reported running out of beer after breweries were forced to cancel deliveries thanks to a shortage of delivery drivers.

Beer giant Heineken was among those to cancel orders as the sector braces for draymen to take industrial action later this month.

“Due to the resource issues we continue to face in third party logistics, we have notified our customers that we will not be able to fulfil all orders after having explored every possible option for delivery. We continue to work with our partners to resolve the situation, while exploring alternative methods to get our beers and ciders to customers,” a Heineken UK spokesperson said.

Workers employed by GXO Logistics Drinks will strike over pay disagreements with some 1,000 individuals across 26 sites to participate later this month.

GXO Logistics Drinks is responsible for about 40 per cent of beer deliveries across the country, with union bosses warning of further shortages. 

The Fox & Hounds pub in Clavering, Essex, said it ran out of draft lager on Sunday resulting in some customers “swearing and shouting” at staff.

In a Facebook post, the pub said the site had been badly affected by the lack of delivery drivers with inconsistent beer deliveries for the past eight weeks and no deliveries for ten days.

“As a customer it is unlikely you would of notice [sic] this due to our proactive management team hiring vehicles and completing 120 mile round trips acting as draymen to ensure the cellar is stocked.”

Brewers and their partners were “working round the clock” to ensure deliveries, according to British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin.

The BBPA called on the government to add HGV drivers to the shortage occupation list to make it easier for overseas workers to fill vacancies. 

McClarkin said: “The HGV driver shortage is being felt by our sector like so many others. We are grateful for Government engagement with this issue to date, however, more is needed as a matter of urgency to address the driver shortage in the immediate term.”