FOOTBALL fans keen to toast England's World Cup showdown with Colombia can order what they want at the bar after a CO2 shortage ran the risk of pubs with no beer.

Pubs giant JD Wetherspoon, which had been unable to serve some drinks on draught, said supplies are getting back to normal and the situation should be resolved by Tuesday morning - just hours ahead of England's crucial knockout match in Russia.

The good news for football fans came after some pub chains reported they had temporarily run out or were short of John Smith's, Strongbow, Amstel and Birra Moretti as disruption to supplies of CO2 began to take effect at the bar.

On Monday it was confirmed that a plant in Billingham, understood to be run by CF Fertilisers, is back up and running and CO2 is being supplied to customers.

Despite pubs appearing to be on track to serve their usual array of beverages, others affected fear problems could run into the next two to three weeks.

Away from the bar, Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), said he fears it will be two to three weeks before things get back to normal.

Mark O'Neill, from The Beer & Gas Man, which provides CO2 to about 750 customers - including pubs, clubs and hotels - in the West Midlands, said the good weather and World Cup have made the problem a "perfect storm".

He said businesses are so desperate that one was prepared to drive to Leicester from Brighton and pay five times over the usual price for two cylinders.

Mr O'Neill said the company ran out of CO2 last Tuesday after rationing supplies.

"It's a perfect storm really with the weather and the football, especially the way the World Cup's going," he said.

Serge Smadja, director of The CO2 Gas Company Ltd in London, said their filling plant had to shut down on June 28 - a first in more than 20 years of trading.

The company fills and supplies beverage gases that are used to serve draught beers and soft drinks in pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Mr Smadja said: "Having to catch up the backlog of missed deliveries is going to be a herculean task for our company and it will certainly take some time before we are completely back to normal."

A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon said on Monday morning: "A high number of our pubs had been unable to serve three products on draught - John Smith's, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruits.

"Supplies of these products across all of the company's pubs is almost back to normal and the issue is set to be resolved by tomorrow (Tuesday morning).

"So in effect, all getting back to normal and no more issues expected."

The shortages are understood to have been caused by a longer than usual break in production of ammonia, one of the key sources of food grade CO2 in Europe - which is used to carbonate drinks and preserve some packed fresh foods.

Trade journal Gas World said the shortage had been described as the "worst supply situation to hit the European carbon dioxide (CO2) business in decades".

Even teetotallers who prefer to keep hydrated with a soft drink have been affected by the shortage - with Coca-Cola describing the situation as "challenging".

Stonegate Pub Company, which owns the Slug and Lettuce chain, said all its pubs and bars are running as usual.

Mitchells & Butlers, which owns All Bar One, Harvester and O'Neill's pubs, said it is not expecting supply issues and will continue to trade as normal.

Simon Marsh, employment and communications director at the Chemical Industries Association, confirmed that the Billingham plant is back up and running, adding that CO2 is being supplied to customers.

Where are you watching England v Columbia at World Cup 2018?

Where are you watching England v Columbia at World Cup 2018?

Add your contribution now By uploading a contribution, for use online and in print, you accept our contributor terms. You will either own or have permission to use anything you provide.