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Last updated at 10:26 GMT, Friday, 01 March 2013

Belgian beer dispute

Summary

15 January 2010

In Belgium, a country famous for its beer, an industrial dispute means a blockade is threatening supplies of Stella Artois and Leffe, two of the country's favourite beers.

Reporter:
Dominic Hughes

Workers blockading the InBev brewery in Leuven, Belgium

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Report

It's scarcely believable, in beer-loving Belgium supplies of two of the country's most famous beers, Stella Artois and Leffe, could be about to run out. A week-long blockade at the headquarters of InBev, the world's biggest brewing company, has stopped any beer from leaving the brewery. Supermarkets and bars around the country have warned that stocks are running low.

The unions are protesting against plans to cut more than 250 jobs and so far talks aimed at resolving the dispute have got nowhere. But there's no need to panic just yet. There are probably around 125 breweries in Belgium producing around 800 standard beers. Add in special one-off brews, and some experts believe there could be more than 8,000.

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Grammar

scarcely believable

very difficult to believe because it's so unlikely

run out

finish, use or sell all of something, so that there is none left

blockade

when a factory is surrounded by workers to stop goods (here, beer) from going in or out

brewing

process of making beer (usually from hops, water, malt and yeast)

brewery

place where beer is made

stocks are running low

the supply (here, of beer) is getting very small

unions are protesting

organised groups of workers are showing their disagreement by taking some action (for example, withdrawing their labour or here, stopping beer leaving the brewery)

to cut

to reduce or make smaller

talks aimed at resolving the dispute have got nowhere

discussions to try to find a solution to the problem have not been successful

one-off

something (here, a supply or batch of beer) that is made only once