German beer producers running out of bottles

With the summer heat leading to increased beer consumption, some breweries in Germany complain about lacking enough bottles and crates. Beer packaging, it seems, is a recurrent, long-term problem for the industry.

The Fiege brewery in the western German city of Bochum has a problem. Although business is booming in this hot World Cup summer, it’s struggling to find enough bottles to put its beer in. So Fiege has launched an urgent appeal to consumers via Facebook.

“We need your help,” the brewery wrote. “Although we regularly buy new empty bottles, they’re becoming scarce in our bottling facility. So before you go on summer holidays, please bring your Moritz Fiege empties back to the shop. First the deposit, then the party!”

Reusable beer bottles carry a deposit of eight to fifteen cents ($.09-0.18) in Germany, but that’s not always enough to motivate people to lug empties back to stores when the mercury rises and they could be, among other things, drinking beer.

The problem is especially acute for independent, regional, family-run breweries like Fiege. A brewery spokesperson told Deutsche Welle that whereas Fiege normally bottles 100,000 to 120,000 beers a day, this summer that figure is up to 150,000 to 160,000. Fiege isn’t alone in having this problem, which comes hot on the heels of a shortage of carbon dioxide.