A new drama is brewing: Stella!

If you're headed for Europe and plan to quaff a Stella Artois or two, think again. Supplies of the premium Belgian beer are running dangerously low and, one might project, the problem may hit the U.S. market as well.

A labor dispute over planned layoffs by Stella's manufacturer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, has resulted in workers blockading the brewery in Leuven, Belgium, for the past week to prevent beer from being shipped out.

The unions are protesting the company's plans to cut more than 250 of 2,700 jobs in Belgium.

Anheuser-Busch InBev announced this week a plan to cut 800 jobs across western Europe, 10% of its 8,000 workforce in the region. Stella Artois lager is one of the firm's biggest-selling brands

The company said its decision was a result of declining beer sales, with the layoffs spread across Belgium, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, was formed in 2008 when Belgium-based InBev bought Anheuser-Busch, the owner of Budweiser, and the largest brewer in the U.S. InBev itself was formed in 2004 when Belgian Interbrew merged with Brazil's AmBev.

[See the preceding post for an update on the global beer market.]

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