Breweries change recipes, shut down amid CO2 shortage

CHICAGO (NewsNation) – The pandemic has caused logistical headaches for countless businesses in the past two years, but even though many industries are recovering, breweries are preparing for possible shortages.

Supply chain crises and extinct volcanoes are turning off the taps for some beer makers.

Some small breweries even shutting down after a lack of carbon dioxide production caused by natural contamination in Jackson Dome – a Mississippi CO2 reservoir from an extinct volcano.

Now, brewers from coast to coast are struggling to get their products to market. With so few options available, some brewers are planning to switch to nitrogen, while others, particularly independent craft brewers, are shutting down altogether.

Some breweries have been able to secure a steady supply of CO2, but it has come at a high price – the price has increased by up to four times on average.

In July, Nightshift Brewery, outside Boston, closed the facility after it said its carbon dioxide supply was “cut for the foreseeable future, probably more than a year.”

While the factory has been able to get its products onto the shelves, thanks to the help of other area breweries, not every craft beer maker has been so lucky.

The lack of carbon dioxide caught brewers, many of whom had considered 2022 a “make or break” year for their businesses, by surprise.

The Jackson Dome has supplied CO2 to the food and beverage industry since 1977. It became polluted, cutting off access to the main source of key ingredients.

Experts describe the situation at the site as “severe”. It’s been months, there’s no end. Many fear it’s only a matter of time before consumers start feeling the impact on their fridges and wallets.

The government’s consumer price index shows beer prices have risen 5% this year, lower than the wider food and drink market, but that could change as rising carbon dioxide and grain costs make beer more expensive.

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