Beer producers may start to feel the pinch of supply chain disruptions

Supply chain issues are continuing to impact consumers and operators, as Americans have dealt with everything from toilet paper to baby formula shortages. Now,
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 5:08 PM MDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 11:51 PM MDT
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HAILEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Supply chain issues are continuing to impact consumers and operators, as Americans have dealt with everything from toilet paper to baby formula shortages. Now, the beer industry could be next to feel the pinch.

The Sawtooth Brewery in Blaine County has been around for more than ten years, and COVID has thrown a myriad of obstacles at them, from inflation and staffing issues to shipping delays.

“Just craziness. It seems like every month it is something different. Once you feel like you have a handle on everything it all changes again,” said Sawtooth Brewery Co-Owner Kevin Jones.

He said now he is hearing that some breweries are experiencing shortages of carbon dioxide.

“We would definitely have to shut down or adjust how we do beer. We would not be able to make a bubbly beer without CO2,” Jones said.

For Breweries carbon dioxide is essential. CO2 is used to transfer beers, carbonate them, and push beer to be poured on tap.

“We have not dealt with it here locally, which is really nice but I hear it might come here eventually,” Jones said.

However, one supply chain issue that is currently giving him headaches is aluminum cans.

“The retail cost to the consumer is about $12, and it use to be about $11,” Jones said.

Additionally, he said there has been a high demand for aluminum cans since COVID, and he now has to buy them in bulk at a higher price.

“When the demand is high they are going to supply their bigger customers before smaller ones like ours,” Jones added.

University of Idaho Professor Steven Peterson said supply chain disruptions like aluminum can are going to take time to correct themselves, it’s not going to happen overnight. He said the aluminum shortage is estimated to last into 2023, possibly as late as 2024.

“There is a variety of reasons for it. One of them is that China is moving away from carbon-based energy products,” Peterson said.

However, Jones said he is feeling optimistic about the future.

“This time two years ago you never knew what was going to happen. Now things are settling down a little bit which is good,” Jones said.