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Spain suffers shortage of major drinks brands

Bars and restaurants in Spain’s biggest cities are struggling to get hold of brands including Beefeater, Absolut and Patrón, say local proprietors.

Covid-19 restrictions may have been fully lifted in Spain last month but for many heading back out into the country’s bars and restaurants, the on-trade looks very different.

Supply chain challenges have resulted in venues across Spain struggling to stock their shelves – and some of the country’s best-loved brands are notably absent from menus.

“The shortage is not generalised, but concentrated on some brands in particular. The problem is that these are brands that people are very attached to,” Roberto Ucelay, manager of the Los Olivos Beach Resort in Tenerife, told AFP.

Among the names affected are Beefeater gin, Absolut vodka and Patrón Tequila, with deliveries of the aforementioned almost impossible to secure.

“The lack of stock affects well-known international brands we never would have thought would one day be unavailable,” said Raul Garcia, manager of Madrid’s Café Comercial.

The shortages are caused by the global shipping crisis, triggered by a surge in demand from China and the US which affects all international trade.

Rather than a problem of product availability, it is more an issue of delivery, with a lack of drivers, containers and trucks contributing to the dearth.

Espirituosos Espana, Spain’s association of spirits makers, predicts the problem will not last long, but with Christmas fast approaching, some are anticipating delays of up to six months to receive certain brands, which may lead to establishments and consumers seeking out alternatives.

Bars and restaurants account for almost half of all alcohol sales in Spain.

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