News National Breweries say the ‘pallet crisis’ affecting beer supplies has been blown out of all proportion
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Breweries say the ‘pallet crisis’ affecting beer supplies has been blown out of all proportion

A pallet shortage is affecting Australian beer supplies.
A pallet shortage is affecting Australian beer supplies, but breweries say it's been blown out of proportion. Photo: TND
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Brewers have rushed to reassure Christmas revellers that media reports of a crippling timber pallet shortage will not lead to a lack of festive beers.

Industry memos issued by breweries to retailers warning that certain products would not be available in the coming weeks has lead to media reports of a possible Christmas beer shortage.

Some bottle shops have even introduced purchase limits on specific products as a result.

Back in October, Lion – whose top sellers include Tooheys, XXXX, Hahn and Furphy – made the decision to focus on specific quantities like six-packs instead of less popular quantities like 10-packs in order to cope with the pallet shortage.

“We have been prioritising production of our top-selling pack formats in response to the national shortage of hard-wood pallets and other supply chain challenges,” a Lion spokesperson told The New Daily.

“This means that while some pack formats for certain brands may go out of stock, the vast majority of our main pack formats will still be available right through the festive season.”

The Australian earlier reported possible shortages of Tooheys New 10 pack of cans, select Tooheys Old Long Neck packs, Iron Jack Full Strength 30-packs of cans, Hahn Premium Light 24-packs and Tooheys Extra Dry Long Neck 12-packs.

However, Lion confirmed to TND that these brands would still be available over the holiday season in other quantities, or in cans rather than bottles.

Rival brewer, Carlton & United Breweries, meanwhile it has experienced no have been no domestic supply issues.

The Melbourne-based company makes VB, Carlton Draught, Pure Blonde, Melbourne Bitter and Great Northern, among others.

“We are not facing shortages of kegs or our most popular domestically-brewed stubbies or cans,” a spokesperson for Asahi, which owns CUB, told TND.

“Recently we had limited the sale of our most popular canned beer for a short time due to aluminium shortages, but those shortages have been successfully managed.”

The spokesperson added that a shortage of Corona – which is imported from Mexico – is unrelated to the Australian timber pallet shortage, and this supply chain delay is expected to clear up by Christmas.

Timber trouble

A nationwide shortage of timber pallets first emerged in October, and has affected more than just alcohol.

Pallet manufacturer Pentarch Group in Victoria and the NF McDonnell & Sons sawmill in South Australia have blamed this crisis on the native logging ban in Victoria.

But this is also part of a larger worldwide timber shortage which has affected supply chains in many countries.

CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor told the ABC the shortage could lead to a supply “perfect storm”.

Mr O’Connor said supermarkets could face a critical shortage of household goods, toilet paper, alcohol and other supplies if more timber was not released.

“This is developing into a perfect storm ahead of Christmas: Job losses, a slow-down in manufacturing, and potential critical supermarket shortages,” he said.

On the beer front, breweries don’t expect the situation to improve until next year.