How To Fix the ‘Requires Empty Food Storage Item’ Issue in Dwarf Fortress

Requires empty food storage item

‘Requires empty food storage item’ is an annoying issue that appears in the video game Dwarf Fortress. Many players have been reporting such a bug lately and have been complaining about the same in many game forums. 

Dwarf Fortress, as you may already know, is a management and construction simulation game that is popular among many gamers. This roguelike indie video game was created by Bay 12 Games and released in the year 2006. The general plot of the game is that the players indirectly control a group of dwarves so as to attempt to construct a fortress successfully that looks wealthy. 

The game is quite difficult in nature, which made it get mixed reviews and reactions from critics and players. The present popular games, like Minecraft, Rimworld, etc., are said to have been inspired by Dwarf Fortress and were among the few popular games to get featured in the Museum of Modern Art in 2012 to represent the history of video gaming. 

This article is focused on the problem of ‘requires empty food storage item’ that appears in Dwarf Fortress and how you can fix the same. So, read on to find out everything that you want to know about the issue to help you solve the problem. 

What is the ‘Requires empty food storage item’ Problem?

When playing Dwarf Fortress, a lot of gamers have come across the ‘Requires empty food storage item’ problem. Many have asked queries as to how they can fix the issue in various game forums, including on Steam and Reddit, as they couldn’t find a solution as to what they can do in this situation. 

They all got such an error message, mostly when they tried crafting booze at the still when they were out of drinks. The survival tutorial then asks them to have an extra barrel to craft drinks, even if they have many extra ones. 

Requires Empty Food Storage Item

There may be many players who are wondering what they can do when such a problem arises, especially even when all the settings are removed for the general stockpile that comes under Furniture>Type>Barrels. 

If you are one such player, then you can read the article further to understand why the issue happens and how you can fix it to avoid the ‘Requires empty food storage item’ error message from appearing ever again in the Dwarf Fortress video game. 

Why does the ‘Requires empty food storage item’ Problem Appears?

Many players, when reporting the problem, added how they have a good number of empty barrels in their general storage among the furniture stockpile. They are eligible to use and should automatically get used. 

This sometimes does not happen, causing the error message to appear, and that may be because the players linked the still to a stockpile that only takes barrels. This is fine, but that gives no option for the game to take the barrels from the general stockpile if that is where they are. So one of the main reasons why they get the ‘Requires empty food storage item’ error message may be because they have not linked both the general stockpile as well as the stockpile that only takes barrels to the still. 

Another reason why the problem may appear is that players may have linked their stockpiles to workshops. You must not link them unless you really have to control the inputs or outputs. Linking stockpiles to workshops is unnecessary and not at all applicable when crafting drinks which may be another cause that makes many players get this error message. 

Another reason why players at times get the ‘Requires empty food storage item’ problem may be because they used a burrow. In such a case, they may have forgotten to give the permit to their brewer’s burrow to include barrels that contain the stockpile making the error message appear.

These are the common reasons why you or any player face the ‘Requires empty food storage item’ problem in your favorite video game, Dwarf Fortress. 

How to create empty food storage in Dwarf Fortress?

A frustrating message that you could receive is that your dwarves are no longer brewing drinks due to the lack of free food storage. “Free food storage” is the empty barrels where the dwarves can store drinks. There are different methods that you can use to overcome this issue.

Make more barrels

Making Barrels
Making Barrels

One of the ways this could be fixed is by simply making more barrels. For this, you will need to set up either the workshop of the carpenter or the Forge for the Metalsmith. Making more barrels would result in you having more than enough space to store food and drinks. Barrels are a necessity in Dwarf Fortress, and there is no such thing as few barrels in the game. 

When all the empty barrels in a stockpile are made for food and drinks, your dwarves will have no issue putting the food and drink they produced into a barrel of their preference. 

Stockpiling Food in Dwarf Fortress

There is a wide variety of drinks available in Dwarf Fortress, such as wines and ales. You will not be able to put them into the same barrel. So even if there are many barrels available that have only some booze, the Dwarves will still complain that there is not enough space since the type of alcohol they are making will not mix with those already existing in the barrel. 

Sorting out the Input and Output

First, you will need to choose the Still, after which you will need to click on the button for stockpiling. The button will be available in the top right corner. You might have to select which stockpile the still should pick the item up from directly. You will also need to select which stockpile the Still needs to give the items to. 

When you are choosing the stockpile, choose the ones that have empty barrels as the output and any other stockpile that has plants as the input. 

Brewing in Dwarf Fortress

You need to remember that a single stockpile cannot be used as both output and input. Since that is the case, you will need to separate the drink barrels from the plants. Once you have provided your dwarves with the new set of instructions, they should have an easier and better time knowing what barrels to use. Remember, even if you use this method, make sure that you select the barrels that have a lot of space.

Brewing in Dwarf Fortress
Brewing in Dwarf Fortress

Note: If you wish to check if the Still has barrels with alcohol in it you can do so by selecting the Still and then visiting the bottom section. There you will be able to find the items that are used to make the Still as well as the barrel of booze. The barrel you find will be in the brewing process even if there is no dwarf working on it

Remember, if you do not have the appropriate amount of plants in order to brew that particular type of alcohol, the barrels might get stuck in the supply line. 


The Requires empty food storage items is an issue that a lot of players of Dwarf Fortress have experienced. The message is frustrating and disheartening and happens when there are no empty food storage containers and barrels available for the dwarves. Sometimes this issue happens even if there are empty barrels, and that has confused the players who have experienced it. This article has covered everything that you will need to know regarding the topic ‘Requires empty food storage items’, including why this issue happens and how to fix it.

Hopefully, this article has been insightful and has provided you with all the information that you need on the topic ‘Requires empty food storage items’ so that you can have an uninterrupted and less frustrating gaming experience!

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