Heineken Is Planning to Stockpile Beer Before Brexit

Lovers of Desperados tequila-flavored beer and Strongbow apple cider can rest a little easier in the stressful run-up to Brexit. Dutch brewer Heineken NV is stockpiling extra booze.
The drinks maker is working with U.K. logistics company Wincanton Plc to find additional storage space ahead of March 29, when Britain is set to leave the European Union. It has already started storing more volumes, and plans to build them up over the coming weeks and months, according to Wincanton Chief Executive Officer Adrian Colman. Heineken is looking to stockpile thousands of pallets worth of goods, he said Thursday.
The move highlights growing corporate anxiety as the Brexit deadline looms. While Prime Minister Theresa May has begun briefing her cabinet on the text of a near-complete Brexit deal, the terms for the cross-border trade of goods and services haven’t been finalized. Fears are mounting among a broad range of manufacturers that new barriers will disrupt supply chains.
Heineken, as well as other alcoholic beverage companies that Wincanton declined to name, “want to build some stock ahead of the March deadline,” Colman said in an interview. “New systems and processes, whatever the change -- even if very minimal-- won’t be achieved overnight.”
Storage includes ingredients brought in from outside the U.K. for local drinks production as well as imported beverages, he said.
“We always build additional buffer stock in the first quarter of the year to manage peak demand in the summer,” Heineken said in a statement. “We have taken a small amount of additional warehousing space to give us greater flexibility to meet customer demands.”
More than 90 percent of the beer sold in the U.K. is brewed locally, according to the company.