Hurricane Sandy hit the US yesterday causing havoc along the east coast

Hurricane Sandy hit the US yesterday causing havoc along the east coast

Drinks companies and retailers are continuing to face disruption in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with the economic toll on the country expected to exceed US$20bn. 

A "major disaster" has been declared in New York state by US President Barack Obama after the storm caused flooding and power outages on the US east coast yesterday (29 October). About 15 people are believed to have died. 

Companies have reported varying degrees of disruption. Anheuser-Busch InBev's New York City office, employing about 100 people, was closed yesterday and is closed today. Its breweries in Merrimack, New Hampshire, Newark, New Jersey, and Williamsburg, Virginia, have also closed, along with the company’s can plant in Newburgh, New Jersey, and distributorships in Boston, New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey.  

"The company continues to monitor and assess the situation," an A-B InBev spokesperson said. "The safety of our employees is our top priority; we want employees and their families to stay safe and follow the instructions of state and local officials."

PepsiCo, which has been forced to close its head offices in Purchase, New York state, said it is working with other businesses to "understand the impact of Hurricane Sandy and the need for product".  

Heineken said the safety of family and friends is its "number one priority", but a spokesperson said that "thanks to mobile technology, Heineken USA is open for business". 

Meanwhile, about 600 PA Wine & Spirits stores across Pennsylvania have been fored to close while they assess damage from the storm. The stores are due to re-open tomorrow (31 October). 

However, industry sources have suggested to just-drinks that affected consumers will have stocked up on drinks over the weekend in preparation and retailers will have seen a possible uplift.