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National Beer Can Shortage

Sienna Serrao

HOLD UP!!! Before you pick up the phone and call us or a craft brewery about the funky looking can or double label...let us help explain.

Along with the toilet paper shortage a few months ago, and the coin shortage we are beginning to see, the United States is also currently dealing with a national can shortage, which means some items usually packaged in cans might begin to look a little different - especially if they're a small producer.

This anomaly has forced many craft breweries across the country to become more creative in the way they package their beers. Some are using a previously printed can they had in reserve for another beer in their lineup, others may purchase surplus from another company altogether, and some may not be able to package their beers, period.

So, why is it that there is a shortage of beer and soda cans?

Beer Cans Ready For FillingThe reason is the high demand for canned beverages, and yes, this is largely due to the coronavirus pandemic we are all currently experiencing, effectively altering the way many of us receive our beer today.

Being stuck at home has led to an increase of at home drinking, less beverage consumption at restaurants and bars, and a majority of craft brewers switching to cans to keep up with take-out orders. Add in the popular demand for the trending hard seltzers every big name beer company has begun to make, and you can see the drastic switch from incorporating bottles and glasses filled by tapped kegs, to solely using aluminum cans.

This shortage is not an aluminum depletion problem, but rather a supply and demand problem.

There is plenty of raw aluminum to be used, but with the demand for canned drinks being so high, can manufacturers just can’t keep up. When we say that the demand for these drinks is up, we mean it is up so much that soda and beer producers have agreed and announced that they could sell much more product if they only had the cans to package it in.

And to add salt to the wound, many of the can manufacturers have contracts with the large breweries, that effectively puts the small craft breweries at the end of the supply line.

The can industry continues to work long hours to meet the high demand, and has even begun expanding and introducing new manufacturing facilities.

Unfortunately, many believe this is only the start of the shortage issue, and that it will only become worse in the near future. One by one we see the shortage arise, first in the standard 12-ounce cans, followed by the taller 16-ounce cans used for many 4-packs of beer, and finally in the 32-ounce crowler sized cans. However, as of now the beverage industry has become creative enough that the situation is being held under control.

These solutions can only last so long, but we are all doing our best to keep up with the 2020 demand, and pivot as needed.

Beer Can with Overlapping LabelOne of these creative methods is what you may be looking at in your recent craft beer club package, and one method we mentioned earlier as a solution you may start to see more frequently. When we requested a heavy supply of craft beer from a recently featured micro brewery, they didn’t have the full supply of cans for that specific brew. So, quickly thinking on their feet, the innovative brewers decided to pull already printed cans from their own supply (meant for one of their other beer styles) and placed a new label on top of the other existing can label.

Yes, we know this might look a little funky, but hey we are fine with what they needed to do to get you fantastic beer! Plus, it just adds to the fact that you're getting some truly authentic craft beer, made by the little guys trying to make ends meet.

We hope you enjoy, and we would be happy to hear from you with any further comments or questions. Cheers!