Beer and fizzy drinks producers are warning of potential shortages in the UK and Europe caused by a lack of CO2, as warm weather and the World Cup drive demand for carbonated drinks.

While the CO2 supply started running low in April, as ammonia plants closed for planned maintenance works, the situation is now critical as other plants were forced to shut down due to technical issues.

A spokesperson for a supplier of industrial gases, Messer Group, said: “As every year in summer, some of the European ammonia plants are not or partly in operation. It is a situation that happens every year in the summer months. Messer tries to secure the customer supply by shifting product within Europe.”

The UK was hit particularly hard by the carbon dioxide shortages as only one major CO2 plants was operating earlier this week, while imports from Europe have been affected by shutdowns in Benelux and France.

Currently at least five CO2 producers across northern Europe are closed for maintenance.

Reportedly, Britvic, which also produces Pepsi and R Whites in the UK, and Heineken were already being affected by the shortages of CO2.

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “We are aware of a situation affecting the availability of CO2 across Europe, which has now started to impact beer producers in the UK.

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“We will continue to monitor the situation carefully. However, given the time of year and the World Cup, this situation has arisen at an unfortunate time for the brewing industry.”

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

“Soft drinks producers in the UK are taking active steps to maintain their service to customers, including working with their suppliers to mitigate the impact as well as looking at alternative sources.”

Beavertown Brewery brand and communication manager Sam Millard believes supplies could run out as early as next week and compared getting hold of supplies to rationing during the war.

He said: “The CO2 shortage has hit at absolutely the wrong time of year – the height of summer and the World Cup is when people want to be down the pub, drinking beer, or they want to get cans to take home.

“We can modify our processes for this week which will see us through… but if it goes on any longer than that then we’ll just have to halt packaging.”

According to Millard, the shortage will affect both big and independent brewers.