USA: Craft breweries confronting carbon dioxide shortage

Craft breweries across America have been on the front lines of businesses facing higher material costs because of inflation, NBC News reported on August 4.

USA: Craft breweries confronting carbon dioxide shortage
Source:  Company news

Now, many are confronting a shortage of a key ingredient: carbon dioxide, the gas that gives beer its crisp, effervescent taste.

And one brewer has already said it plans to shut down a key manufacturing plant and lay off workers as a result.

Night Shift Brewing, in Everett, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, cited the CO2 shortage as the reason it is suspending operations at its longtime facility and outsourcing to nearby locations instead.

"Come October 1, we won’t likely have jobs for many of this team," the company said in a statement on Instagram.

It's a slow-moving crisis that became worse this summer as reports emerged that the carbon dioxide sourced at Jackson Dome in Mississippi, one of the nation's largest gas production hubs, had been contaminated.

Even before that, breweries were facing higher costs for raw materials like aluminum and barley as a result of inflation, said Chuck Skypeck, a technical brewing projects director at the Brewers Association, the 6,000-member trade group that represents America's independent brewers.

And carbon dioxide supplies were already tight because pandemic shutdowns forced many key suppliers offline, a disruption they still have not recovered from, he said. The summer is also a pressure point in the supply of carbon dioxide as key facilities go offline for scheduled maintenance, he said.

"There’s been spot shortages across the country since the beginning of the pandemic," Skypeck said.

But the sudden halt of supplies out of Mississippi appears to have exacerbated the situation for some struggling brewers beyond the point of recovery.

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