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Irn-Bru unaffected by CO2 shortage due to ‘additional storage and multiple suppliers’

Britain, and much of Northern Europe, remains in the throes of a CO2 shortage, with huge brands such as Heineken and Coca Cola affected. 

Published: June 27, 2018

Wetherspoon pubs haven’t escaped either.

Low levels of gas

The meat industry is also worried. Some producers, particularly poultry farmers, say they have just ‘days left’.

Yet in Scotland, companies are bucking the trend. At least, many of the biggest names north of the border have not been affected.

A spokesman for AG Barr, which owns Scotland’s famous Irn-Bru drink, told i: “We invested in additional CO2 storage last year, and have multiple supplier agreements in place, but are monitoring the supply position and production schedules closely to protect customer supply as much as possible.”

He added that if the CO2 crisis continues it is likely Irn Bru and others in Scotland will also suffer – but, for now at least, the manufacturer has not had to take the measures undertaken elsewhere in the drinks industry.


The same can be said of the C&C Group, which is behind brands such as Tennent’s lager (massive in Scotland), Magners cider in the UK, and Bulmers cider in Ireland.

A spokesman told i: “Following reports of shortages across northern Europe of CO2 gas, we have reassured our customers that availability of C&C brands are currently unaffected.”

Even BrewDog appears to have escaped. A spokeswoman said the company “has not faced any production problems”, although also said it has been “reacting” to the CO2 situation.

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When asked to clarify, she said “production has been unaffected”, although declined to comment further.

So, has Scotland escaped the CO2 drama? As regards drinks alone, it seems so. We know less about the meat industry.

However, Scotland’s largest pig processing plant, Quality Pork Limited, announced yesterday it was shutting down its abattoir, Gas World reported.

Andy McGowen, chief executive of Scottish Pig Producers, told the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 yesterday that Co2 is needed as stunning is the most humane way of slaughtering pigs.

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“We’re shutting the plant this afternoon because we have no CO2 and it’ll stay shut until we get a delivery,” said McGowen.

“Above all else, animal welfare is vital for us so if we can’t stun the pigs in an appropriate way we won’t operate at all.”

‘Work together’

If the shortage continues, chances are it will catch up with Scotland’s drinks manufacturers.

Gavin Partington, director general at British Soft Drinks Association, said: “The shortage of CO2 across northern Europe is impacting a wide range of businesses across the food and drink sector.

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“It’s important that we work together to find a solution to this problem.

“It’s vital that the response is equitable to all sectors and industries and we are doing everything we can to ensure customers and consumers are not adversely affected.”

• The original version of this article appeared in our sister publication the inews

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