Unsplash | Jon Parry

There Might Be A Beer Shortage Coming

First, covid came for toilet paper. Then, it came for computer chips. Then it came for baby formula and gas. Now, it's coming for ... beer?

With roughly two years of supply chain issues on the books, there are now reports that a shortage of aluminum cans may cause a shortage in everyone's favorite fermented beverage.

Ongoing Woes

In addition to the crucial aluminum shortage, there have been rising prices in malted barley, hops, and transportation. The latter price increase can be linked back to the rising gas prices, which can in turn be linked to Russia's war in Ukraine.

In fact, beer prices are already up by 5% when comparing 2022 to 2021.

Not Enough CO2

You read that right. Another factor in the possible beer shortage is a shortage in carbon dioxide, which is used in the carbonation of beer. In a strange twist of events, that shortage in carbon dioxide has been attributed to not only supply chain issues, but a volcano.

According to Denbury Energy, which owns an important carbon dioxide well located in an extinct volcano, the site has recently been infiltrated with destructive contaminants. However, Denbury has maintained to TIME that the contamination is a "minor issue."

“The CO2 produced at Jackson Dome has been and is being produced within all regulatory requirements, and the composition of the delivered CO2 continues to meet contractual specifications,” the company said.

The Odds Are Not In Their Favor

The Brewers Association, a non-profit trade association led for and by brewers, maintains that current economic trends are working against them and that many breweries may have to shut down in the near future. This may impact the variety and amount of beer that is available to consumers.

“While many of the specific issues in the market are new, CO2 has experienced various supply chain challenges since the beginning of the pandemic,” the Association said in a statement. “This is one of many areas where small brewers are facing cost increases and availability issues.”

Say it isn't so!

No Meat, Either, Meat-Eaters!

Beer companies -- and beer drinkers -- have not been the only entities affected by these ongoing shortages. Tyson is also a victim, as it uses carbon dioxide to freeze its packaged chicken. The same goes for Kraft Heinz Co. and their famous cold cuts. Both companies have been scrambling to find carbon dioxide suppliers but to no avail.

Now may be a good time to experiment with vegetarianism!

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