Why is there a beer shortage? (2022)
Just look at your empty grocery shelves and you will see that there are so many products missing due to the supply chain shortages of the pandemic. Favorites like peanut butter, avocados, and eggs were in short supply. And before that, of course, there was toilet paper (how could we ever forget that?).
However, there is now a shortage on the horizon that may be harder to absorb. Beer! It’s going to be a lot harder to just go out and get your favorite brauski. Unfortunately, craft beer in particular is in short supply and the beer you can Find will be so much more expensive. It’s no surprise, then, that the obvious question on everyone’s lips is: “Why is there one beer shortage?”
Beer shortage 2022
Although a few factors play a role, you might be surprised to learn that a carbon shortage is actually the cause of the beer shortages of 2022. While many people assume that carbon dioxide has nothing to do with beer making, it’s actually not only responsible for the bubbles in the brew, but also for the fact that the beer tastes fresh.
So, we’ll get into the other causes of beer shortages shortly, but first, let’s dive deeper into the CO2 issue.
Also Read: 24 Beers That Are Super Low Calories — But Still Taste Great!
Why is there a CO2 deficiency?
One of the main reasons for the 2022 carbon shortage is the notorious supply chain issues of the pandemic. But that’s not all.
The other major problem seriously affecting beer production is natural contamination at one of the largest carbon dioxide reservoirs in the US known as the Jackson Dome, near Jackson, Mississippi.
Not to mention that there was another CO2 shortage early in the pandemic, caused by the closure of more than half of ethanol plants due to safety concerns.
Also see: 22 Types of Beer to start your quest for your favorite brew
How the pandemic affected CO2 demand
Ethanol plants, which produce CO2 as a by-product, have had to shut down during the pandemic because there hasn’t been much demand for gas as families and individuals stayed home and didn’t drive.
With the lower demand for gas, there was also lower demand for ethanol, which in turn led to a shortage of CO2. At that time, Rich Gottwald, Managing Director of the Compressed Gas Association, said: “All of a sudden people stopped driving, then there was no demand for gasoline, so there was no demand for ethanol, so CO2 started to dry up.”
How Was the Jackson Dome Reservoir Contaminated?
With the already scarce CO2 supply, it certainly didn’t help that our largest CO2 storage tank was contaminated this year. Jackson Dome, part of an extinct volcano in Mississippi, was contaminated by gas from a nearby mine over the summer.
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See also: What gives beer its color? Test your beer knowledge with our quiz
Why is there a beer shortage in 2022?
We have listed many of the different factors that have all created the perfect storm when it comes to beer production issues.
1. The CO2 shortage
Since CO2 is so important in beer production, the CO2 shortage has a direct impact. CO2 is pumped into beer to create the fizz we like, but it’s also used in canning to keep the liquid from mixing with oxygen.
2. Poor barley harvest in 2021
The weather didn’t cooperate last year to grow barley in the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest. The barley crop scorched in the heat and drought. Brad Rippey, USDA Meteorologiststated at the time: “We are seeing our lowest harvest conditions of the century that is only two decades old, but still the lowest harvest conditions of the century for spring wheat for barley in the northern plains.”
3. Increase in demand for aluminum cans
As the COVID pandemic kept people at home, there has been a surge in home drinking, leading to a shortage of cans. Usually, people like to go to bars and restaurants to order draft beer. When everyone was tied to their homes, beer was only available in cans or bottles.
4. Labor shortage
As a result of the pandemic, there is a labor shortage across the board, which is also affecting the brewing industry.
See also: Craft Foods & Beers for every taste
Will beer shortages affect both larger breweries and microbreweries?
The beer shortage is likely to hit microbreweries harder than big producers like Budweiser, Michelob, and Miller. According to IBISWorld, “A microbrewery produces a finite amount of beer, typically no more than 6.0 million barrels (189,000,000 US gallons) of beer per year.”
Large breweries can more easily cope with the impact of carbon shortages than microbreweries. The larger breweries have access to expensive machines that replicate the effects of CO2. The same is not true for microbreweries, which usually cannot afford these machines.
Unfortunately, many craft beer breweries simply cannot afford the additional costs and have to close.
What else does the CO2 shortage cause?
- Dry Ice: After all, it’s basically frozen CO2. It is important that groceries remain frozen during delivery.
- Soft drinks and seltzer: In addition to beer, soft drinks and seltzer also rely on CO2 for carbonation. Without them, the drinks fall flat.
- Cold cuts and frozen foods: Carbon dioxide is used to preserve cold cuts and certain frozen foods such as vegetables and pizza.
Next, this limited edition beer is brewed using Aunt Anne’s pretzels!