Brits are facing a shocking shortage of booze this Christmas as the widespread supply chain crisis looks set to delay alcohol deliveries by two weeks.
Booze producers have now expressed their concerns with champagne, wine, gin, whisky, and festive staples such as mulled wine and Buck's fizz all at risk.
A letter sent to the government from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has called for urgent action “to avoid some of our favourite tipples from disappearing from the UK supermarket shelves”.
Costs of shipping booze to the UK and getting it from ports to shelves is 7% higher now than it was last year, writes The Sun.
Moreover, deliveries to homes now take 15 days on average whereas last year it was usually two or three.
Big brands are expected to absorb this stress and the extra costs but others may struggle, giving Britain's drinkers less choice this Christmas.
Kingsland, one of the UK’s big three wine producers, was a signatory on the WSTA letter. They typically bottle 140 million litres each year, primarily for supermarket own-brands.
Managing director Ed Baker explained: “We are bottling 2.5million to three million litres a week — that is slightly lower than normal as a result of the supply chain issues.
“We have already had hold-ups bringing wine in from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
"That was due to a lack of shopping containers and then hold-ups at ports.”
The WSTA says that several of its members have reported importation issues, with products taking five times longer to get here compared to last year.
Some companies have reported that delivery drivers and vehicles are becoming increasingly unreliable.
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the WSTA, said that 49 members signed the letter to the Transport Secretary and that the letter called for an extension to the temporary visa scheme to relieve the current stress.
He explained: “There is mounting concern amongst our membership that unless urgent action is taken, we will fall deeper into delivery chaos.
“We are already seeing major delays on wine and spirit delivery times which is pushing up costs and limiting the range of products available to UK consumers.
“Government needs to do all it can to ensure British business is not operating with one hand tied behind its back.”
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