Carr’s water biscuit shortage looms after factory hit by UK floods

Custard cremes and ginger nuts could also be affected

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The Independent Online

Carr’s water biscuits, a cracker brand owned by United Biscuits, will be off the shelves for months after a Carlisle factory was one of the victims of the New Year floods in the North of England.

United Biscuits has confirmed that Carr’s, makers of the water biscuit; McVitie's, makers of ginger nuts; Crawford's, makers of custard cremes and shortcake; and Jacob's lines have been affected, but they have not confirmed which biscuits in particular were hit.

The company announced the news in a newspaper advertisement titled “Flooding in water biscuit factory. Oh the irony.”

“We’ve scoured the country, but have been unable to find a brick oven that delivers the same unique Carr’s taste you love,” the ad said.

The biscuit manufacturer admitted that water biscuits will be missing from dinner parties and cheese boards, but that members of staff were working “tirelessly” to resume production as soon as they can.

Mike Heaney, Factory General Manager at United Biscuits, said: “Resuming factory production is a priority for us and our teams are well on track with this as our Gold Bar production has started.  

“However we also recognise the importance of community at a time like this. Many of our employees have taken the time to support those most affected by the floods and keep spirits high, providing local rescue centres with supplies and carrying out local door-to-door biscuit drops.”

Some 400 United Biscuits employees, contractors and suppliers are working to get the factory back on track.

The factory is one of the city’s biggest employers with 640 permanent staff plus up to 300 seasonal workers.

It is the second time in 11 years that the factory has been flooded. In 2005 it was out of action for two months and only reopened thanks to a £1 million Government grant, according to the Carlisle News&Star.

“United Biscuits greatly appreciates the support that has been offered, and our thoughts remain with the thousands of people in Cumbria who have been impacted by the floods,” Mike Heaney said.