Alcohol shortage in Spanish bars due to global transport collapse

by Lorraine Williamson
alcohol shortage

MADRID – The global collapse of transportation means an already noticeable alcohol shortage in Spanish bars. There are already establishments where it is not possible to find some brands of alcohol. 

Some brands have disappeared from distribution channels as a result of the global collapse in freight transport. This mainly affects imported or exported products. In particular, the various delays and problems with ports and fairways have led to an increase in costs per ship of more than 300%. A rise in costs has activated alternative modes of transport and put the entire global supply system at risk. 

Effect of UK shortages 

On top of that, bars are currently experiencing additional issues with products from the UK. This is all in response to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced a few days ago that the deficit the United Kingdom is struggling with could last until Christmas. Not only has the country run out of gas, but many foodstuffs are missing from supermarket shelves, such as meat and chicken. 

Gins like Beefeater or Seagram’s, vodkas like Absolut, tequilas like Tanqueray, and champagne are already scarce in bars in crowded areas like El Retiro, in Madrid, according to the newspaper El Periódico. There are already bars that haven’t received specific brands of vodka or whiskey for months. 

The owner of a cocktail bar in Madrid explains: “They tell us that the products come from the UK. And because of the transport crisis and Brexit, the merchandise is no longer coming from there”. 

However, for now, the supermarkets are surviving this shortage. So, therefore, pubs and nightlife are looking there for what they need to continue their business. 

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This deficit is compounded by a surge in demand following the easing of restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Alcohol shortage during Christmas? 

The trade association ‘Spain by night’ expresses great concern about the possibility that the shortage will worsen during Christmas. In fact, they are already working on a national study to identify the causes of the problem and to come up with solutions. 

Lack of glass, cardboard and cork 

A complicating factor is that with Brexit and the problems with sea and land transport, other factors are also starting to play a role. This includes the lack of glass, cardboard, and cork. And furthermore, combined with the rising demand mentioned above results in shortages. 

Opportunity for Spanish alcohol producers 

At the moment, Larios, Brugal, DYC, and Centenario are the spirits that are still normally distributed because they are produced in Spain. Therefore, the catering industry can still order these drinks with a view to the upcoming holidays. 

Moreover, this crisis offers a new opportunity for Spanish producers of spirits. Catering companies are already starting to sign deals with Spanish spirits brands to fill the gap left by the English firms.

Also read: Beer delivery at risk due to Truck strikes

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