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Brewers tackles beer shortage, but water is priority

It is not only essential products such as drinking water that are disappearing from retail shelves, as major brewers have acknowledged a shortage of beer at many stores in Bangkok due to the flooding, which has completely disrupted their logistics systems.

Beverage-makers have been allocating more working resources to bottled drinking water, which is an essential product in great demand from flood-hit consumers.

However, the companies have committed to improving the beer shortage significantly within a month, when the flood water has receded and their logistics systems are back to normal.

Chatchai Wiratyosin, marketing director for Singha Corp, yesterday said one of the main problems was that the company cannot deliver its beverages to retailers' warehouses and distribution centres, which have been seriously affected by the floods.

"Many transport routes in Bangkok and the suburbs have been cut or blocked by flood waters," he said.

The problem of zero supplies at many retail outlets throughout Bangkok is also caused by the temporary shutdown of Singha's major brewery in Pathum Thani.

"It is also quite difficult to deliver beers from our Khon Kaen factory to Bangkok. Our priority has been to bring drinking water from the plant, which is essential and needed by those affected by the flooding," Chatchai said.

The shortage of Singha's beer |is expected to last for about a month, he added, until the flood water |has declined and the logistics system has returned to normal.

THAIBEV'S LOGISTICS WOES

Thai Beverage's two beer and drinking-water factories, at Bang Ban and Wang Noi in Ayutthaya, have been blocked by the flood water, with transport to and from the facilities completely cut.

Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, president and chief executive officer, yesterday said the beer shortage was caused by logistics problems, as the company could not deliver to retail stores.

He said the lead time for distributing beverage products from its plants in Ayutthaya to Bangkok had increased from two and a half hours on average to between six and eight hours because of the floods.

Distribution from its Kamphaeng Phet factory takes even longer, having increased from six and a half hours to 10. Thapana said ThaiBev had made the production of bottled drinking water its priority, as it is a vital need for people hit by the flooding.

"We are even looking at using glass beer bottles to contain water if the shortage of drinking water becomes more severe," he added.

He said that to ease the problem, the company had joined with modern-trade retailers, such as 7-Eleven, in distributing its products directly to their logistics hubs.

ThaiBev has moved its sales and logistics sites from Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road and Lak Si to Chon Buri to avoid any flood impact.

"We expect the shortage of our beer products at major retail outlets will last a month, until the beverage factories in Bang Ban and Wang Noi are back to normal operations," Thapana said.


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