Irn-bru production under threat as UK suffers carbon dioxide shortage

Scots could be facing an Irn-Bru shortage as makers issue a warning over carbon-dioxide shortfall.

Creators of the iconic drink have warned about “unprecedented circumstances” as the price of natural gas in the UK soars by 250% since January and 70% since August.

Last week the staggering rise in cost led to the closure of two fertiliser plants.

The natural gas is used to create the bubbles in fizzy drinks such as Irn-Bru.

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It is a by-product of fertiliser production and the two plants provide around 60 per cent of the country’s carbon dioxide.

AG Barr, the producer of brands including Irn-Bru, Rubicon and Tizer, has warned that they could be impacted if the situation across Europe continues.

The firm say they have invested in additional storage of carbon dioxide but the “unprecedented” challenges could have an impact on production.

AG Barr have invested in CO2 storage over recent years and also had suppliers of the gas from across the UK and Europe.

A spokesperson for the company told The Scotsman newspaper said: “We’re currently producing to normal schedules. However, if the situation worsens across Europe then we could be impacted, but we’re taking action to protect normal customer supply as much as possible.

“We have worked hard to build resilience into our CO2 supply chain over a number of years. However, these are quite unprecedented circumstances.”

The warning comes as firms who produce the fertiliser have recently suspended production.

Norwegian firm Yara cut its production levels last week due to rising natural gas prices.

US Firm CF Industries also suspended production last week at its plants in Teesside and Cheshire as profits were impacted by the price of natural gas.

The suspension has impacted the meat industry who rely on the gas to stun pigs and poultry prior to slaughter.

The possibility of a welfare cull of pigs and poultry has been suggested however Scotland’s food industry may be less affected by the shortage as it relies more on electricity rather than CO2 to stun animals prior to slaughter.

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