Gas leak hits beer drinkers

Lion Red beer is running dry, as the gas leak impacts on brewing ability in Auckland. Photo / Thinkstock
Lion Red beer is running dry, as the gas leak impacts on brewing ability in Auckland. Photo / Thinkstock

Lion Red drinkers are the latest victims of the Maui gas pipeline leak.

Brewing firm Lion Nathan has sold out of new Lion Red kegs and pubs across New Zealand are running dry of the top-selling beer.

Lion, which closed its Christchurch plant after it was damaged by the February earthquake, was also forced to shut its 60,000sq m Auckland brewery on Tuesday because of the gas leak.

The factory remained closed today.

However, the company has ordered a new part from Germany which will enable their machinery to run under diesel power and bosses hope production will resume on Monday.

In the meantime, Lion is running out of supplies but external relations director Liz Read was quick to say: "We have plenty of stock on hand, so it's not likely we are going to run out of beer, wine, or spirits."

Although the company sells plenty of other beers, including Steinlager, Speights, and Mac's, the gas leak has already impacted on stock levels.

"It has affected the mix of brands available," said Ms Read.

"Yesterday we sold out of the last of our on-hand Lion Red kegs. So, for tap beer customers, that particular brand is out of stock."

Once the new part arrives in New Zealand and the factory is converted to diesel, a limited production line will commence.

Priority stocks, like Lion Red, will be the first to be topped up.

Meanwhile Vector hopes to have the Maui gas pipeline repaired by Sunday night but the situation remains delicate, chairman Michael Stiassney told the company's annual meeting in Auckland this afternoon.

Mr Stiassney said Vector did not expect to suffer financial damage from the pipeline break, which has left thousands of businesses across the upper and central North Island without power.

- APNZ

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