Ireland is running dry of beer after the big breweries stopped delivering kegs all over the country.
It is now almost impossible to buy a keg full of pints and more than 1,000 illegal shebeens are running out of booze much to the relief of the Gardai.
Diageo stopped delivering kegs of Guinness, Carlsberg and Rockshore nationwide in early January after the Taoiseach Micheal Martin demanded pubs stop selling takeaway pints.
He felt it was encouraging people to socialise when everyone should stay at home with the Covid pandemic out of control. Heineken then followed suit.
The majority of publicans stopped doing home deliveries while others felt Mr Martin’s call was unfair and carried on as normal. Now, however, they can’t get beer anywhere.
A Diageo source said: “From last March to June we stopped all deliveries to pubs and wholesalers. We then re-opened for over six months.
“With the current wave of the virus crippling the country we then decided in early January to stop everything. You can’t even get a keg in a “cash and carry.”
“The whole drinks industry from the breweries to the pubs and restaurants are trying to row in behind the Government for the greater good and to encourage our customers to stay at home and stay safe.”
Many of the shebeen owners were purchasing kegs from publicans they knew and wholesalers. Others were just buying them privately for their own home.
A keg has anywhere between 80 to 90 pints and costs between 200 to 250 euro depending who you are buying it from.
The Gardai have been seriously concerned at the spate of illegal drinking dens operating across the country during lockdown.
Between 30 to 40 have been shut down in raids from Donegal to Kerry after tip-offs from members of the public.
Some of the illegal premises were designed like bars and could accommodate up to 40 people.
A source said: “: If they are running out of beer that is good news. The only reason why people go to these places is they love their pints.
“The problem is in a pandemic they are the perfect place to spread the virus.”
“We had heard it is almost impossible to get your hands on a keg in the country at the moment.”
The Gardai believe that are between 500 to 1,000 shebeens open across the country.
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