Why Harrogate brewery has been hit by impact of Suez Canal incident with one of world's biggest container ships

An independent Harrogate brewery has tweeted it is looking for volunteers to label cans of beer by hand after new equipment got stuck on one of the world's biggest cargo ships which recently blocked the Suez Canal.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 4:43 pm
Dilemma in a can - A problem with a ship on the Suez Canal has impacted on Harrogate's Roosters brewery and its director Ian Fozard.

Ian Fozard, Roosters director, said the new imported piece of equipment for labelling some of its canned beer was meant to arrive at the Roosters Brewing Company on the 1,300-foot-long container ship Ever Given which blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March creating a major international incident.

After creating a marine traffic jam in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, the giant ship which weighs 200,000 metric tons has since been impounded in Egypt with its cargo still on board.

Mr Fozzard, who has run Roosters together with his sons Tom and Oliver since 2011, said: "It's stuck along with goodness knows what else bound for the UK.

"But it only affects some of the beers - the others are in printed cans.

"We appealed for help people from anyone who could offer a few days of manual work and we’ve already received a few offers of help."

The strong response from the public followed a tweet by Roosters' head brewer Oliver Fozard which read: "It turns out our new, in-line can labeller was on the Ever Given, which is still seized in Egypt. Is anyone on hand for a few days work, helping us to get through a backlog of labelling cans?"

The automatic labelling machine for the canning line was due to arrive in mid-April but is now trapped on the Ever Given 3,600 miles away.

Roosters' current canning machine is operated manually.

Roosters is one of Harrogate’s most successful independent breweries and recently reopened its beer garden at its plant at Hornbeam Park for outdoors food and drink.

Like other businesses in the beer and hospitality, award-winning Roosters has had a tough time for the last 13 months during Covid, despite the Government's furlough scheme.

Mr Fozard told the Harrogate Advertiser eariler this month that the rules of lockdown meant the family business could end up throwing away 35,000 to 45,000 pints of unsaleable beer as a result.

Nationally, recent figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) estimated up to 87 million pints of beer will be thrown away because of the measures against the pandemic.

Things were going so well for Roosters before the pandemic that it invested £850,000 in building a brand new state-of-the-art brewery and taproom at Hornbeam Park, three times the size of its original premises in Knaresborough.

Despite the challenging times, last year even saw Roosters' head brewer Oliver Fozard named Brewer of the Year nationally by the British Guild of Beer Writers.

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