Carbon Dioxide Shortage Could Impact Craft Breweries

A Mississippi supplier temporarily shut down and is partially to blame for the short supply.

August 08, 2022

BOULDER, Colo.—A nationwide shortage of carbon dioxide may have an impact on craft beer supply, reports Fox Weather. Carbon dioxide is a vital component of beer making, contributing to the foam in beer and shelf stability, and it is used throughout the production and packaging process.

"Without CO2, you don’t have beer," Chuck Skypeck, technical brewing projects director for the Brewers Association told Fox Weather. "CO2 is not only essential for breweries to process their beer, but it’s an ingredient."

A Mississippi carbon dioxide supplier shut down in July due to contamination concerns, and that is partially to blame for the shortage. Other source supply plants are also being temporarily shut down at the end of summer for overdue maintenance, Rich Gottwald, president and CEO of the Compressed Gas Association, told Fox Weather. Driver shortages have also impacted local delivery.

"Historically, there is always tightness in the summer because the demand for products likes beer, soft drinks and dry ice—which all use CO2—increases in the warmer weather," Gottwald told Fox Weather. "This year’s record high temperatures have only intensified that demand."

Craft brewer Night Shift Brewing said its CO2 supply has been cut for the foreseeable future, and the decrease in supply could last for more than a year. As a result, the brewery decided to shut down its production facility.

"Given both the immediate and long-term issues at Everett, we’ve made the decision to move the majority of our beer production to Jack’s Abby and IBG," the brewery said in a Facebook post last week. “We’re incredibly thankful for these relationships and the support these businesses are showing. On the flip side, what this all means is ultimately one of the most heartbreaking circumstances to ever face our business,” the post states.

"We have guaranteed that everyone on our production team will get paid through Oct. 1, regardless of whether there’s work here or no work because we have no CO2," the company added.

"If you can’t brew beers, you’re not making revenue. And after two and a half years of continual challenges of loss of revenue and inflation, it may affect some brewers’ ability to continue to stay in business," Skypeck told Fox Weather.

Craft beer collaborations between breweries and c-stores are growing in popularity. NACS Magazine dove into this trend in the article “Crushing on Craft Brews.”