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The shelf life of a beer varies depending on the type. A typical pale lager (typical mega-brewer stuff), or any "weak" beer has a pretty low shelf life. Probably 2-3 months from bottling.

NewCastle probably has a longer shelf life than that, but it also has to survive the trip across the ocean. It also comes in clear bottles which can lead to skunking.

If your beer is going flat in a number of weeks, I'd find somewhere else to get it as it was likely mishandled. Of course if everyone in your area is served by the same distributor who is causing the problem you may have to just try different beers.

By flat do you mean lacking carbonation, or flavour? I can't see any circumstances other than poor packaging for a beer to lose carbonation over time.
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