It is not the first time that the breweries are warning of a shortage of beer bottles before the high-demand summer. But this year there are special circumstances that make replenishment difficult.
According to the German breweries, beer bottles could become scarce in Germany next summer. The reasons given are the significantly increased costs for new bottles and the lack of truck drivers.
“We see bottlenecks in the summer at the latest,” said the general manager of the German Brewers’ Association, Holger Eichele, the “Bild” newspaper. “The hotter the summer, the more difficult the situation can become.” Eichele called the situation “extremely tense”.
More beer consumption in summer
The Association of Private Breweries in Bavaria spoke of a phenomenon that “usually occurs annually because more beer is drunk in the summer months”. This year, the sharp rise in energy prices and a possible gas embargo or a gas supply stop from Russia would make matters worse, said association spokesman Benedikt Meier in Munich.
Glass bottles are made using gas, and the price has risen sharply. A new glass bottle is about twice as expensive as the deposit that the brewery can charge for it. It is to be feared that one or the other brewery could have problems with empties, said Meier. The distribution channels also played a role. The small and medium-sized breweries that sell their beer within a radius of 50 kilometers around the site generally received empties back more quickly.
Eichele told the newspaper: “Those who don’t have long-term contracts currently have to pay 80 percent more for new glass bottles than they did a year ago.” Some breweries are threatened with idling, “they may soon be without bottles”. Consumers should return empties to retailers as quickly as possible in order to ease the situation.
The Veltins brewery in Sauerland also spoke of a tense situation. “But we are currently not seeing any delivery problems. The consumer gets the beer he wants,” said a company spokesman. Because of the risk of a gas delivery stop, breweries tried to stock up on new bottles. “Currently there is no evidence that it is already tight, the markets are full of goods,” he said.
However, the peak of the season in summer is still to come. Demand is likely to be higher this year than in previous pandemic years. There could also be a holiday effect when it comes to empties: Because more families are going on vacation again, more empty beer bottles could stay in the cellar for a longer period of time.