Today is one of those days where just about every single headline inspires the question “Dear god, what hell hath we wrought?” And whenever that happens, I like looking across the pond to our friends in the U.K. to remind myself that we’re not the only country that is suffering the devastating (and obvious!) consequences of spectacularly bad decisions.
I am, of course, speaking about Brexit, which went into full effect last January and has, as predicted, turned the British supply chain into a colossal shitshow. While it’s true that the entire world is suffering some pretty serious supply chain issues thanks to coronavirus and big-ass boats getting wedged in canals, Britain is getting pummeled extra hard on account of telling all its foreign-born workers they could piss off, and piss off they did. Now, if Brits want to drown their existential sorrows at their local pub, there might not be any beer to do it with. Good going, Tories!
The Washington Post reports that pubs are running out of beer, which has little to do with decreased production, and very much to do with the country’s shortage of truck drivers. As we reported last month in the wake of Britain’s Nando’s shortage, Brexit has caused a mass exodus of foreign-born workers in a number of critical industries, like agriculture, food processing, and transportation.
The Britain’s Road Haulage Association says the country lost at least 20,000 truckers who were EU nationals that left the UK after Brexit; overall, the ground transport industry—which the Post reports has long struggled to retain workers forced to work long shifts for low wages and limited access to bathrooms—is currently short 100,000 truck drivers. The industry has also been pummeled by the pandemic, which has forced thousands of drivers to self-isolate after being in contact with COVID-positive individuals, with many choosing to stay home until the British government manages to get the pandemic under control.
And the beer shortage isn’t just affecting the bucolic, locally-owned pubs that are the British ideal in our American imaginations; major companies are also feeling the crunch, like Wetherspoons, a pub chain with 925 locations.
“We are experiencing some supply problems,” a spokesman for pub chain Wetherspoons said Tuesday. “We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused. We know that the brewers are trying to resolve the issue.”
It’s worth noting that Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin was a massive Brexit backer who donated hundreds of thousands of British pounds to the Vote Leave campaign, told the public that remaining in the EU would lead to “significant adverse economic consequences,” and said that the many people who warned him that all this would happen were “doomsters.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find my tiny violin.