TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Major beer suppliers and mom-and-pop breweries hope a nationwide carbon dioxide shortage won’t cause sales to fall flat.
The gas, also known as CO2, is what gives carbonated beverages their fizz. Last month, one of the country’s largest CO2 production hubs in Jackson, Mississippi became contaminated by a nearby underground volcano, leading industry leaders to warn of a shortage and rising prices.
This comes as breweries – like the rest of the service industry – attempt to recover from lost business and persisting supply chain issues caused by the pandemic. NBC News reported some major CO2 suppliers were driven offline by pandemic shutdowns.
“I’ve been talking with members this week that have either had to decrease production schedules, or in some instances, cease production until they get an order of CO2,” Chuck Skypeck, the technical brewing director for Brewers Association, told WJTV.
Brian Miller, owner of Bold City Brewery in Jacksonville, Florida, told First Coast News he cannot get a full tank of CO2 anymore – and he’s paying extra for what little he gets.
“If we’re not really frugal with it, we may run out,” Miller told First Coast News. He said he has to pay a 35% delivery fee surcharge if he wants more than half a tank.
As demand for beer rises, so do the prices. Preben Olsen, owner of Jacksonville’s Aardwolf Brewing Company said carbon dioxide isn’t the only ingredient seeing an uptick in price. The cost of raw materials like aluminum and barley have also risen as a result of inflation.
“We’re also seeing price increases for our malt that we use for actually brewing the beer,” Olsen told First Coast News.
Both brewers said they need customers’ help to stay in business, no matter what surprise costs bubble up.
“You still need the consumer to support you – to be able to pay these costs that are going up,” Miller told First Coast News.