Plain cans

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Around 200 can production workers at the Crown Bevcan factory in Carlisle will strike over nine days

Britain could face a shortage of canned drinks from brands including Heineken and BrewDog this summer as the result of planned factory strike action, Unite has warned.

The trade union said around 200 can production workers at the Crown Bevcan factory in Carlisle – who had already taken two days of strike action over a 3% pay offer – will strike on nine working days between 4-17 June.

They were “seeking a pay deal that reflects rising living costs”, it added.

Unite regional officer Malcolm Carruthers said the strikes would impact day and night shifts at the factory, “potentially leaving Crown Bevcan unable to fulfil its orders”.

As a subsidiary of the Crown Holdings Group, Crown Bevcan was “part of a hugely profitable business empire”, added Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

It could “easily afford to pay workers a wage that will help combat this punishing living costs crisis”, she said.

“Yet once again, business puts its greed ahead of workers’ needs, rewarding shareholders while telling workers to take a pay cut.”

A spokesman for Heineken said: “We have been made aware of proposed industrial strike action at Crown Bevcan’s Carlisle site.”

While it was “clearly our hope that the dispute is resolved we have a robust supply chain to mitigate any disruption and we will continue to monitor the situation”, he said. 

The Grocer has approached BrewDog for comment. 

It comes as some drinks suppliers are already warning that Britain could face a shortage of bottled beers thanks to the rising cost of producing glass.

Scottish wholesaler Dunns Food & Drinks predicted this week global supplies would dwindle thanks to the price of glass bottles jumping by as much as 80%.

As a result, some breweries – such as Edinburgh-based Vault City – have converted to cans to ensure consistent supply.

However, beer brands ditching glass bottles would put pressure on the already limited supply of aluminium cans, one supplier told The Grocer.

A number of wine brands are also exploring new canned formats. 

Adria Vini and Hardys, for instance, both unveiled canned wine ranges earlier this month.