Venezuela Faces Beer Shortage

To join its power blackouts and two-day workweek
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2016 11:25 AM CDT
Venezuela Faces Beer Shortage
In this July 31, 2015, file photo, a liquor store worker unpacks a case of Polar beer in downtown Caracas, Venezuela.   (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

Having a five-day weekend every week as public sector workers in Venezuela do for the time being would probably be a lot more appealing if you had a home with steady electricity and a fridge full of beer. But residents of Venezuela may actually prefer to go back to work as power brownouts continue and now, a forewarned beer shortage appears a foregone conclusion, per ABC News. Empresas Polar, the country's largest brewery and responsible for churning up about four-fifth's of Venezuela's brew, was forced to nix all production on April 29—and lay off 10,000 workers, USA Today notes.

The final nail in this particular keg was President Nicolas Maduro's refusal to put his signature on a request for US dollars so the breweries could import high-demand barley, which has been hard to find. "What are we coming to when we can't even buy a beer?" one 43-year-old farmer tells USA Today, noting that he used to regularly throw back a cold one or two at the end of each workday. And it sounds like Venezuelans may have become a bit dependent on their drafts: Kirin Beer University stats show that Venezuela chugs the most beer out of any country in South America, at 75 quarts per person per year. Now even the bar owners are realizing how dire the situation is. "I have enough Polar on hand for a few more days,” the owner of a bar in Tasajera says. “After that, it's over. I don't know what I am going to do. " (More Venezuela stories.)

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