A nationwide carbon dioxide shortage could result in a massive spike in the price of beer. While CO2 is produced during the natural fermentation process of beer, brewers have to add more of the gas to the beer before it is shipped out.
The lack of CO2 has caused prices to spike, leading breweries across the country to raise prices and cut back on their scheduled deliveries.
“We’ve been running delivery to delivery for the past few weeks, and we are certainly concerned about the supply,” Aeronaut Brewing Company co-founder Ronn Friedlander told Axios.
One of the biggest issues causing the CO2 shortage is reports of contamination at one of the nation’s largest reservoirs of CO2 in Jackson, Mississippi.
Brewers across the country are trying to come up with solutions to the carbon dioxide shortage. Some brewers are working to capture more of the CO2 created during the brewing process, while others are trying to upgrade their facilities to use nitrogen instead.
However, those solutions aren’t easy to implement, and the upgrades could take months to complete.
“We’ve looked into CO2 capture systems, but the lead times are five to six months, which doesn’t address the current supply problems,” Friedlander said.
The result of the shortage could lead to empty shelves in liquor stores, dry taps at bars, and an overall increase in the cost of beer.
“Our members are coming through two-and-a-half years of Covid shutdowns and other supply chain issues and inflation, so it’s just another blow in a long series of challenges they’ve had to face,” Chuck Skypeck, a technical brewing projects director at the Brewers Association, told NBC News. “Some members have thrown in the towel.”