Venezuela Beer Shortage Might Be Happening, And It's A Bigger Problem Than You Think

Venezuela is already facing increasing political contention, and now it's on the verge of another major crisis: a Venezuela national beer shortage. That's right. The South American country is apparently running out of beer ­— the main drink of choice for many of its residents.

So how exactly is this happening? For one thing, there's an ongoing dispute between Venezuelan labor unions and the country's largest beer distributor, Empresas Polar. Many brewery workers have gone on strike, causing Polar to shut down breweries and leading to only limited distribution of the small bottles of light lagers that Venezuelans favor.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also a shortage of imported beer ingredients, like hops. Combine both of those factors with the host of economic problems in the country, and Venezuela could soon have a serious beer crisis on its hands. Currently, there are enough bottles in stores to keep residents happy, but that could all change very soon. According to Global Post, if things don't turn around, the national brewers association says the country could run out of the necessary ingredients for beer-making by August. Yikes.

This isn't exactly coming at a great time for Venezuela either. The country has enough worries on its plate, including 615 percent inflation, and some of the highest homicide rates in the world. It's safe to say now is not the time for people there to not have beer.

Luckily, Venezuela's ombudsman for human rights is aware of this pending disaster, and has stepped in to help mediate the situation between union workers and Polar. If you're thinking it sounds like overkill for a human rights official to get involved, you might want to chew on this: beer accounted for a total share of 93 percent in alcoholic drinks in Venezuela in 2014, and the country is the eighth-highest consumer of pints in the world. So yeah, you don't want to be the one to come between Venezuelans and their beer.

Hopefully, they'll be able to sort some of this out before the last beer flies off the shelf. Otherwise, the country may see a whole new level of unrest.

Image: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr