It’s been a perfect storm of circumstances. But thanks to a worldwide pandemic and other factors there’s been a run on aluminum cans that’s challenging some of the nation’s biggest brewers.
Here’s the deal….
The coronavirus has led to bar, taproom and restaurant shutdowns in the US, effectively putting the brakes on kegged beer sales and sending canned beer sales through the roof, as consumers stocked their pantries to wait out the pandemic.
Almost overnight kegged beer destined for restaurants and bars was diverted to cans for consumers now sheltering-in-place and brewery can supplies were decimated by the unexpected transition.
And because their stock of aluminum cans were quickly being depleted, brewers like Molson Coors, Brooklyn Brewery and Karl Strauss have been forced to cut back on the scope of brands they offer further exacerbating concerns of out-of-stocks.
Molson Coors, home to brands like Blue Moon and Coors Light, has shifted production in its portfolio away from smaller, slower-moving brands as a result of the can shortage…”Everyone who makes anything that goes into a 12-ounce can is being challenged to some respect,” Molson Coors’ spokesperson, Adam Collins, told CNN Business.
On July 17 analysts from the banking advisory firm Evercore Inc. warned of “rampant and unprecedented” beer out-of-stocks from the nation’s largest suppliers, due to growing can shortages and increased consumer demand for brewers’ core brands.
”From what we can piece together, everyone is now having issues meeting demand, and there is fear of lost business to wine and spirits,” Evercore analysts Robert Ottenstein and Eric Serotta wrote.
And it’s not like aluminum cans weren’t already in demand before the pandemic hit CNN reports…
“Brewers increasingly turned to the vessel during the past 10 years. Beer sold in cans accounted for 50% of all beer sold in 2010 and 60% in 2019, a 20% increase, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, a trade association for US beer distributors.”
“Can supply is a big deal,” Brewers Association Senior Vice President for the Boulder, Colorado-based Brewers Association told CNN Business…”We are seeing extended wait times for can orders and also some of the smaller players not having orders fulfilled. Expect to hear more about can shortages across beverage companies.”
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