Delivery disaster for the trade with no end in sight


After the turmoil of last 18 months licensees’ drinks deliveries are arriving late or getting cancelled because of supplier issues caused by a shortage of drivers, a scarcity of warehouse workers and no end in sight thanks to strike action planned by draymen this month and next.

The Unite Union has said they lost up to £10,000 in a year due to furlough and lack of overtime — with no pay increase for 2020, so strike action is planned for the 24th and 25th August and the 2nd and 3rd September.

Gavin Stevenson, owner of the Mor-Rioghain Group, which owns Gellions and Monty’s in Inverness and the Mains of Scotstown in Aberdeen told DRAM, “We had our delivery cancelled by Star Bars/Heineken on the first Friday of full trading after Level 0 ended, and we only had notice about it on the Thursday after 4pm.

“This was despite contacting our BDM several times during the week to check our delivery status and advising them that for such a big order we’d need plenty of advance notice if there were to be issues.  As it was we were able to source beer from elsewhere, but this involved some frantic last minute sourcing of product, and then an all night work shift for a team of drivers moving stock from over 100 miles away.  “

Gavin says this is unacceptable at a critical time when small businesses are attempting to get back on their feet and is putting their long-term survival at risk.

“It’s completely unacceptable that beleaguered pubs are facing these issues now in the first couple of weeks of viable trading after 18 months of Covid losses.  The disruption and stress caused by the breweries lack of ability to contingency-plan is putting small Scottish businesses at risk, and given the vast resources of the big multi-national companies involved, such total failure to ensure adequate supply is inexcusable.”

Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson of the Scottish Hospitality Group,  says the situation is throwing planning up in the air and adding to stress levels at what is already a stressful time.

“This is affecting everybody. Nobody can plan. That’s the issue here. I put in an order for delivery on Friday and it never showed. Luckily, my rep had bunkered some kegs so we got some on Friday night, but I had to go scrambling around for spirits and wine to get stock for the weekend. Then my wine order arrived on Saturday morning, so I ended up with double stock. “

Stephen says that this is the last thing that the trade needs after being closed for the last 18 months, with no end in sight because of the planned strike action by draymen.

He said, “It’s the panic of not knowing. It’s adding to our stress levels that have already and with four days of strike action ahead, we’re treading water and have this to contend with on top  of interview no-shows in a massive staff shortage and staff resigning, staff self isolating, HMRC banging on the door looking for money,  and the threat of closure, this is the last thing we need.”

And the problem is made even worse for pubs that are tied and Gavin Stevenson is calling for urgent action to resolve the issue.

“Worse still, where pubs are tied, no alternative arrangements are being agreed in advance of the delivery actually being cancelled at the last minute, leaving publicans scrambling to find supply with little or no notice and often being unable to do so.

“It is imperative that the pub companies and breweries now get their act together and resolve these delivery issues, and also communicate with customers much further in advance if deliveries are to be disrupted.”