Great news, cask beer fans: UK shortage of CO2 menaces fizzy crap taking up tap space

Brit booze barons worry they will have to go carbon dry-oxide


A carbon-dioxide shortage in Blighty may rid bars and pubs of that fizzy nonsense taking up the tap space of proper cask beer. [Oy! Some of us like a good lager – ed.]

The UK Food and Drink Federation today issued an alert – just in time for the World Cup – that the country was in danger of running out of the CO2 gas that is used to put the bubbles into carbonated drinks like sodas, sparkling waters, and yes, draught beers.

The issue seems to stem from a larger set of problems gripping the CO2 processing industry across Europe as a whole. Industry publication Gasworld (which is apparently a thing) reported earlier this week that Brits stand to be the hardest hit in a region-wide shortage triggered by simultaneous shutdowns at multiple processing plants.

"It appears the UK is hardest hit – with only one major CO2 plant operating as we go to press," Gasworld explains.

beer

LESTER looks up, spins its wheels: The Register’s beer-butler can see ...

READ MORE

"Very reliant on imports from Scandinavia and also the Netherlands – the UK is doubly impacted in that there are limited movements across the Channel due to the plant shutdowns in the Benelux and France limiting product to ship."

Part of the problem is the way most food-grade CO2 is produced: as a by-product of ammonia production.

Gasworld notes that because ammonia's primary use is in fertilizer, plants often plan their maintenance shutdowns over the late spring and early summer months when fertilizer demand is lowest. When the ammonia production is offline, so is the CO2.

And it's not just the pubs that stand to suffer (though they are of course the most important). The FDF notes that other markets stand to be hit, particularly the meat industry where CO2 is used in slaughterhouses to stun animals before they are killed and harvested.

"Despite the focus in the media on certain sectors, this is an issue that will affect much of the UK's £112bn farm-to-fork supply chain," the FDF says.

"Government must act with urgency to assess the issue as quickly as possible and support the industry through any period of restricted supply."

In the meantime, we suggest you develop a taste for a nice, cellar-temperature pint of London Pride. [Or a cold Kronenbourg 1664, ahem – ed.] ®


Other stories you might like

  • Intel is running rings around AMD and Arm at the edge
    What will it take to loosen the x86 giant's edge stranglehold?

    Analysis Supermicro launched a wave of edge appliances using Intel's newly refreshed Xeon-D processors last week. The launch itself was nothing to write home about, but a thought occurred: with all the hype surrounding the outer reaches of computing that we call the edge, you'd think there would be more competition from chipmakers in this arena.

    So where are all the AMD and Arm-based edge appliances?

    A glance through the catalogs of the major OEMs – Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Inspur, Supermicro – returned plenty of results for AMD servers, but few, if any, validated for edge deployments. In fact, Supermicro was the only one of the five vendors that even offered an AMD-based edge appliance – which used an ageing Epyc processor. Hardly a great showing from AMD. Meanwhile, just one appliance from Inspur used an Arm-based chip from Nvidia.

    Continue reading
  • NASA's Psyche mission: 2022 launch is off after software arrives late
    Launch window slides into 2023 or 2024 for asteroid-probing project

    Sadly for NASA's mission to take samples from the asteroid Psyche, software problems mean the spacecraft is going to miss its 2022 launch window.

    The US space agency made the announcement on Friday: "Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft's flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on October 11."

    While it appears the software and testbeds are now working, there just isn't enough time to get everything done before a SpaceX Falcon Heavy sends the spacecraft to study a metallic-rich asteroid of the same name.

    Continue reading
  • Rise in Taiwanese energy prices may hit global chip production
    National provider considering cost increase of 8%, which could be passed on to tech customers

    Taiwan's state-owned energy company is looking to raise prices for industrial users, a move likely to impact chipmakers such as TSMC, which may well have a knock-on effect on the semiconductor supply chain.

    According to Bloomberg, the Taiwan Power Company, which produces electricity for the island nation, has proposed increasing electricity costs by at least 8 percent for industrial users, the first increase in four years.

    The power company has itself been hit by the rising costs of fuel, including the imported coal and natural gas it uses to generate electricity. At the same time, the country is experiencing record demand for power because of increasing industrial requirements and because of high temperatures driving the use of air conditioning, as reported by the local Taipei Times.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022