Ginger beer supplies arrive to avert national Dark ‘n’ Stormy crisis
Chingas! John Barritt & Son almost had a national crisis on its hands after it ran out of ginger beer for the first time in the company’s history.
Barritt’s Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer, one half of the national Dark ‘n’ Stormy drink, is produced in Florida from a special concentrate made in Milton Keynes, England, derived from raw Jamaican and African ginger.
The zesty Bermudian soft drink has been bottled, canned and sold continuously since 1874.
But an unexpected major delay in the US of a shipment of the company’s ginger beer concentrate last month caused Barritt’s supply of the popular soda to dry up, general manager Bruce Barritt said yesterday.
Many stores around the Island ran out of ginger beer products last month, although bars still had it because ginger beer soda fountain syrup, made here, remained in supply. But both the cans and bottles of ginger beer ran out at varying stages in March.
“We were out of ginger beer for a period of time and that caused much consternation among consumers,” Mr Barritt said, adding that it also caused a “painful” dent in sales.
“We were out of stock because the concentrate produced in England was delayed in getting to the production facility in Florida.”
Mr Barritt said the all-important concentrate happened to be shipped to the US in a container with other goods, which US Custom held to inspect. The concentrate could not be released until the inspection of the other suspect goods was completed.
Thanks to a shipment just before the Easter holiday, he said the ginger beer supply was now getting back to normal.
However, he said he and his team at Barritt’s were focusing on ensuring something like this never happens again.
“We plan to order more concentrate, more often, so there is a flow of it, so to speak,” he said, adding they will also review shipping schedules and logistics.
He assured customers: “This unfortunate out-of-stock situation was a complete abnormality and will not be repeated. In the beverage industry, every day you are out for stock means sales gone that you will never get back.”
In 2009, Barritt’s began importing Coca-Cola and other soft drinks from overseas, rather than bottling them locally, to cut costs amid falling sales.
Ginger beer was still bottled here up until the end of 2010.
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