November 8th, 2011
01:42 PM GMT
Bangkok (CNN) – 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 company spokesperson told CNN production has been severely disrupted.
The country's economy is already at crisis point, with several of its main industrial parks to the north of the capital inundated by floodwater seeping down from the north. Major manufacturers such as Honda have scrapped yearly profit forecasts after production was halted in several plants.
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," according to the English language Phuket Gazette.
“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, whose members generate more than 100 million baht ($3.25 million) annually for the local economy.
But now he says bars are short of stock - particularly beer, the biggest money-spinner - and 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.
Even in Bangkok, the ubiquitous 7-Eleven stores appeared to be running short of many brands.
The capital is now the focus of the flood crisis, as it battles to protect the central business district from the filthy floodwater edging deeper into this low-lying city of 12 million people.
However, preparation appears minimal. Cars are illegally parked on along the side of raised sections of the main highway to avoid flooding, and there is occasional deployment of sandbags around the entrances of shops and office buildings.
It's a different story to the north and east, where a number of main roads are under water and the military has become the only means of transporting people and vital supplies of food and water around flood-hit districts.
A beer shortage is the least of people's worries in these parts.
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