Australia’s biggest beer company, Carlton & United Breweries, and its large rival Lion are both worried that the nation could run out of beer for three months if their breweries are included in a shutdown of industry.
The companies both said late on Sunday that major breweries couldn’t be turned off and then restarted quickly, and if they were forced to close then it would be up to three months before beer supplies could return to normal once their plants were up and running again.
CUB makes Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught and Crown Lager, and operates the Abbotsford brewery in Melbourne and the Yatala brewery in Queensland.
Lion, which makes brands including XXXX Gold and Tooheys, warned of the consequences of a shutdown of large breweries if they weren’t declared an essential service.
Lion Australia managing director James Brindley said there could be a three-month shortage, depending on whether breweries were deemed non-essential.
“You can’t turn off and then quickly turn back on major breweries like Tooheys,” Mr Brindley said. “After re-opening, there could be up to three months of no beer for pubs or bottle shops because it takes that long to grow the quantity of yeast needed,” he said.
“Our breweries are 100 percent able to operate under strict health and safety rules,” he said.
CUB vice-president of corporate affairs Julian Sheezel said on Sunday that the company was ”greatly concerned about no beer being available in Australia for at least three months if beer is not given exempt status, and what this would mean for tens of thousands of jobs”.
This story originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review. Read the original story here.