The largest beer distributor in Venezuela is beginning to shut down some its breweries, causing widespread frustration in an already resource-strapped country.
Cerveceria Polar, which distributes 80% of Venezuela’s beer, says the lack of barley, hops and other ingredients has forced the shutdown. Other beverages like milk and bottled water have been in short supply for months, but the lack of beer is angering some Venezuelans even more, according to merchants. “People are more freaked out about losing beer than water—it shows how distorted our priorities have become here,” Yefferson Ramirez, a worker at a liquor store, told The Guardian.
Imported and artisanal beers are still readily available, but they cost much more than Polar. Heineken, for instance, can cost five times as much as the country’s most popular beer. The fact that Venezeula is in the midst of a heat wave only makes things worse.
Polar has said that it is awaiting approval from the government to import raw materials to increase beer production, but Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro hasn’t yet commented on the issue.