A shortage of carbon dioxide in Europe is causing major consternation and it could not have come at the worst time, what with unusually hot weather and the quarter-finals and semi-finals of soccer’s World Cup coming-up.

Bloomberg and other media reports cite breweries across northern Europe fretting about shortages of beer, slaughterhouses facing the threat of shutdown and United Kingdom consumers finding it harder to buy a popular breakfast food.

The short supply across Europe is being attributed to a high number of plant suspensions that produce ammonia gas, CO2 being a byproduct of ammonia produced in the fertilizer industry. The shortage is reportedly being prompted by too many  of such plants closing down for either planned or unplanned maintenance. According to one industry publication, it could be September before adequate ammonia and CO2 supply returns to the market to support market needs.

As a result, the production of beer, carbonated drinks, and the packaging needs of certain foods are being impacted on the continent. Bloomberg reports that Northwest Europe has especially been impacted.

Parts of the United Kingdom, which imports most of its CO2 needs has been especially impacted by this supply chain disruption. While a UK production plant is expected to come back online this week, meat packers, brewers, and some food producers, in particular crumpets, may continue to experience supply a shortage until volumes return to normal levels.

The CEO of the British Meat Processors Association offered a rather humorous comment regarding the shortage, indicating: “We thought the problem on the planet was that we have too much CO2. Now we’ve discovered we haven’t got enough.”

As for the World Cup, companies are pulling out all stops to ensure that beer and soda supplies can meet expected demand from all of those pub or home viewers. This is probably at the expense of some other food supplies including those crumpets.

Perhaps many of the fans can drink lemonade or iced-tea, but then again, we may be expecting too much from an enthusiastic and vocal fan base.

We suppose that the World Cup is a test of not only which country can field the best team, but also the most enthusiastic fan base. For some in Europe, they may imply beer at all cost. Of course, if you are a French fan, there is always wine, which already has its natural CO2 fermentation.

Perhaps there are some ocean containers filled with CO2 making their way to the continent as we pen this commentary. After all, its all about agile supply chains.

Drink-up, regardless of beverage and may the best team (s) win.

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