Aluminum Can Shortage Limits Beer, Soda Supplies

Beverage companies are scrambling to meet the demand for at-home beer and soda consumption.

July 17, 2020

ATLANTA—One side effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been more at-home consumption of beer and soda. That, in turn, has triggered an aluminum can shortage that is tightening supplies of certain beverages, USA Today reports.

“Aluminum cans are in very tight supply with so many people buying more multi-pack products to consume at home,” said Ann Moore, Coca-Cola spokesperson.

While can makers, including Ball Corp., will be building at least three new factories by mid-2021, the immediate supply issue remains critical. “The can industry is working 24/7 on meeting the unprecedented demand,” said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute.

The good news is there’s plenty of raw material for aluminum can production—it’s the capacity for can production that’s limited. “The aluminum beverage can manufacturing industry has seen unprecedented demand for this environmentally-friendly container prior to and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Aluminum Association. “Many new beverages are coming to market in cans, and other long-standing can customers are moving away from plastic bottles due to ongoing environmental concerns around plastic pollution. Consumers also appear to be favoring the portability and storability [of] cans as they spend more time at home.”

Before COVID-19, demand was soaring for aluminum cans. The pandemic merely brought an “unprecedented surge in demand,” said Renee Robinson, Ball spokesperson. “Beverages in convenient take-home packages like aluminum cans are particularly popular right now, and beverage company employees are doing all they can to make sure store shelves remain fully stocked,” said William Dermody Jr., vice president for media and public affairs for the American Beverage Association.

Coronavirus Resources

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