Thai floods reduce beer supplies to a drip

After a month of devastating floods, Thailand faces the prospect of a dry spell it could do without.
From Bangkok to Phuket, bars and supermarkets are starting to report shortages of beer -- such as local favourite Singha -- as distributors struggle to get their product out.

Singha, which has many of its production facilities based in flood-hit central provinces such as Phathum Thani, was recently forced to close one brewery that was effectively surrounded by water.

A rep said that production had been severely disrupted.

With Thailand now entering its peak tourist season, a blow to the country's beer belly could hit consumers in the pocket, as prices are forced up. Phuket, one of the country's most popular holiday destinations, has a beer crisis.

"At the beginning of the flood crisis, we didn't expect it to affect us much," said Weerawit Kurasombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association.

But now he says bars are short of stock -- particularly beer, the biggest money-spinner - are being forced to pay inflated prices to re-supply.

"This is the beginning of the high season. If the supply situation does not improve within about 30 days, I believe the entertainment business will start showing real signs of a crisis," he said.

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