Sunday, 1 July 2018

It's a gas (Pumping Back Cash)

The carbon dioxide shortage which has affected the production of beer, fizzy drinks, fresh meat and even crumpets, might be coming to an end, with the news that one major producer of CO2, has re-started production of the gas, and another is about to shortly.

As the media has delighted in informing us, there have been shortages of CO2 over the past 10 days, amid longer than expected shutdowns at ammonia and ethanol plants, key producers of the gas, across Europe. To make the situation worse, three out of five key UK producers have also been shut down, hitting the country particularly hard.

Ensus, announced that their bio-ethanol fuel processing plant at Wilton, near Redcar reopened on Friday, and Billingham based CF Fertilisers, expect production at their plant to re-start on Monday. Both companies produce carbon dioxide as a by-product of their respective processes.

The news that the CF Fertilisers plant is coming back on stream is particularly significant, as it produces 340,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. The gas is supplied to Praxair, a major distributor of food-grade carbon dioxide and dry ice to food and drink firms around the country.

The shortages of CO2 have come at a time of high demand, prompted by the continuing hot weather and the football World Cup, leaving some businesses short of stock. Pubs and retailers are therefore keeping their fingers crossed for a return to normal by the end of next week.

There have been some restrictions in place, but the biggest impact of the shortage appears to have been in meat processing, with producers warning that some production lines had been suspended. This was because there was not sufficient CO2 available for packing. (The gas is used to help preserve fresh meat in sealed packs.)

So far as the licensed trade is concerned there were shortages of certain brands, and wholesaler Bookers, have been limiting customers to a maximum of 10 cases of beer. In addition, a small number of JD Wetherspoon pubs do not have John Smiths Smooth or Strongbow cider available on draught, (no great loss there!); although the company anticipates things will return to normal early next week.

On a personal level, I did notice on Friday evening that shelves in the beer aisle, of our local ASDA, had been stripped bare, but over the weekend, both Sainsbury's and Waitrose seemed well-stocked, beer-wise.

So like all these things, a storm in a tea cup, or should that be beer glass? It's also the start of the "silly season" as far as newspaper editors are concerned, so expect more along these lines.


ETU said...

Nice pun, Paul.

Mrs. U and I happened to catch The Strolling Ones a week or so ago, and for me, that was their best of the night.



Russtovich said...

"The gas is supplied to Praxair"

They're big over here as well.

"(no great loss there!);"

Indeed. :)

"It's also the start of the "silly season" as far as newspaper editors are concerned"

Good point. The 'dogs days of summer' as it were.


PS - I too enjoyed the punny title. :)

Paul Bailey said...

I’ve seen quite a few bands in my time ETU, but Mick and the lads have so far evaded me. Mind you Mrs PBT’s and I have seen tribute band, the Counterfeit Stones a few times.

They put on a good show detailing the Stones through their various line-ups, from the 60’s, through to the present day. Their guitarist morphs from Brian Jones into Mick Taylor, before ending up as Ronnie Wood. Good musicianship combined with a wicked sense of humour, as evidenced by the stage names of two of the band members, Nick Dagger and Bill Hymen!

Russ, definitely the “dog days of summer” here in the UK at the moment. I’m not just referring either, to the sweltering temperatures we’re experiencing, but our lame duck government seems to be having a major meltdown all of its own.

Can’t say I’m sorry. “As you sow, so shall you reap,” and all that!

ETU said...

Heck, I think that I'll stay here and chat about the Stones, rather than comment on the latest edition of "Leave Voters Don't Drink Craft Beer" or whatever.

It could easily be that the tribute band, objectively, was every bit as good musically as the real thing Paul, though in the literary world, no tribute act could ever equal the mighty Arsenal Fan 36, of Beer In The Evening fame, I'd venture. (No analogy intended).

Some people say that the worst thing about hot summer weather is warm beer, but for me it's new potatoes. Give me French fries (as in France, not in the US) or mash any day.



Paul Bailey said...

The Counterfeit Stones are all fine musicians ETU, as well as good theatrical performers. As I said, the show they put on allows the audience to enjoy the Stones across several different decades.

I gather you're not keen on new potatoes. I love them, especially Jersey Royals, served smothered in butter!

Definitely agree that a certain somebody has got it in for Craft Beer. Not entirely sure why though.

ETU said...

Well, new potatoes are fine once in a while, Paul.

However, with this seemingly endless run of hot days, there's a tendency to fall back onto an equally interminable one of salads. With new potatoes. And a jug. Of water.

Tonight's mature steaks smelt delicious in the pan, but were served with the above. No frites. No garlic and parsley mushroom. No today's crusty bread from the patisserie. No bottle of red wine.

Yes, and I cooked it too.

Why do we do this?

Please help.

People who live in hot countries don't, do they? The maximum amount of salad to be consumed in any one day is that served with a sheik kebab starter, and rightly so.

Then there are the poppadoms, naans, Bombay aloo, tarka dahl, or rice dishes. Or piles of noodles and steamed dumplings.

A stand must be made.