It's enough to make a beer drinker weep into his pint glass.
Twenty-five thousand litres of Guinness had to be shelved by a Christchurch brewery after failing to come up to scratch... leading to a shortage and the prospect of a cheerless festive season.
News of the drought leaked last week after a glitch at Lion Nathan's Christchurch brewery meant the equivalent of 44,000 pints didn't make its destined kegs and Irish bars ran short.
"It was a pain in the bum," said Tony Leathers, owner of Muldoon's Irish Bar in Orewa, north of Auckland.
"It's a bit hard trying to be an Irish pub without Irish beer. The people who drink Guinness don't want to try other things."
A barman at an Irish bar in central Auckland said he believed the problem was caused by a "contaminated" batch, but that idea was rubbished by Lion Nathan's corporate affairs director, Liz Read.
"The batch they brewed didn't meet the usual quality standard. We were not prepared to put it out on the market."
She blamed "seasonal variations in malt quality" and confirmed some bars ran out.