The supply chain crisis and an extinct volcano are creating a new beer shortage.
- “We’ve been doing delivery to delivery for the past few weeks and we’re definitely concerned about delivery,” Ronn Friedlander, co-founder of Aeronaut Brewing, told Mike Deehan of Axios Boston.
Zoom in: A shortage of carbon dioxide production caused by natural contamination in the Jackson Dome — a reservoir of CO2 from an extinct volcano in Mississippi — is forcing brewers to cut back.
- Brewers across the country are reporting production delays to get beer to market and are preparing contingency plans to switch to nitrogen.
- Nightshift Brewery outside Boston closed a facility after being told their carbon dioxide supply would be cut “in the near future, possibly more than a year.”
- Others pay 3-4x as much.
Zoom out: The carbon dioxide shortage is the latest threat to the beer industry’s recovery from the pandemic.
- Beer makers – especially small, independent craft brewers – are struggling with inflation and supply chain problems.
- “It’s become a struggle to keep the doors open,” one brewer recently told Bart Watson, an economist with the Colorado-based Brewers Association.
The other side: A handful of brewers have been isolated from the shortage as they use innovative technology to capture natural carbon dioxide from the brewing process and store it for future use.
- Denver Beer Co. in Colorado uses recovered CO2 and sells extra stock to a cannabis company for use in the grow houses.
What’s next: Beer prices have risen less than the broader food and beverage market, but that could change if the rising cost of inputs – be it CO2 or grain – leads to a more expensive pint.