Heat cri­sis hits Christchurch pubs

The Press - - Business - CHRIS HUTCHING

Re­frig­er­a­tion spe­cial­ists have been work­ing flat out to avert crises in lo­cal pubs and other out­lets af­fected by the run of hot weather in Christchurch.

Pa­trons at a St Al­bans bar were dispir­ited ear­lier this week when the pub­li­can was forced to stop serv­ing chilled tap beer due to a break­down.

An­other at Is­ling­ton was also af­fected, al­though both pubs are now back on tap.

Pub­li­can Stephen ‘‘Sooty’’ Mof­fat, who runs the Is­ling­ton pub, also known as The Swamp, said he should have got main­te­nance done sooner.

Dux Cen­tral owner Richard Sinke said his bars were un­af­fected and all bev­er­ages were as cold as they should be.

‘‘But very high heat is not al­ways good for bar trad­ing. Over 30 de­grees and peo­ple re­treat to cool places,’’ Sinke said.

Re­pair man Martin Lewis, of Cold Aire Re­frig­er­a­tion, said he was rushed off his feet.

‘‘It’s the heat. The nor­mal am­bi­ence is about 25 de­grees in Can­ter­bury and we’ve been hav­ing around 30 de­grees. So ma­chin­ery is try­ing to cool things down but they of­ten can’t cope. Some of these units are in small roof cav­i­ties where the tem­per­a­tures might be 40 or 50 de­grees.

‘‘We’re strug­gling to keep up with in­quiries and sup­pli­ers are re­ally busy.’’

Ian Wil­liams, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of CRW Hire Cool, which sup­plies re­frig­er­a­tion ma­chin­ery, said he had fielded queries from as far afield as Wanaka this week.

‘‘The weather has cre­ated ex­tra work with equip­ment un­der strain and peo­ple haven’t had ma­chines ser­viced. We’ve had it in years gone by when you get a run of bad weather fol­lowed by hot.’’

He was also con­cerned about car­bon taxes and the surge in re­frig­er­ant gas prices.

‘‘About two years ago you could buy 10kgs of 404A for about $300 but now it would be $900 or more.

‘‘Re­frig­er­a­tion com­pa­nies are fac­ing huge costs but no one at govern­ment lev­els seems aware of it.

‘‘There are thou­sands of pieces of equip­ment with older re­frig­er­ant gases that can’t be retro­fit­ted with al­ter­na­tives.’’

Wayne Beattie, of Pat­ton Re­frig­er­a­tion, said busi­ness in­creased most years when the warmer weather ar­rived.

PHOTO: CARYS MONTEATH/STUFF

All sys­tems at hote­lier Richard Sinke’s bars are work­ing well but pa­trons of­ten stay away when the weather is es­pe­cially hot.

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