Rise in canned beer sales puts local breweries in bind amid aluminum shortage

Published: Jul. 25, 2020 at 7:31 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Some big-name brewers are feeling the impact of an aluminum can shortage. Molson Coors, Brooklyn Brewery and Karl Strauss say they are cutting back on the types of beers they make to focus on their most popular brands.

Some local Madison-area breweries are also feeling the pinch. While New Glarus Brewery says it is not feeling the impact, others are not as lucky.

Young Blood Beer Co. co-founder Tom Dufek said many people are now enjoying beer from home.

“Without the cans, we can’t give beer to people because less people are coming on site these days,” he said.

He said he has felt the price of aluminum cans hike up about thirty percent.

“It is what it is. If that’s how people are drinking, we gotta meet that demand. It’s just what we have to do,” Dufek said.

Beer buyer for Steve’s Liquor Store in Madison, Dan Schwalbach, said since March, sales for 12 packs have doubled compared to this time last year. He said the numbers point to a specific change in consumer habit.

“Before all this, things were very exploratory with craft beer. There were a lot of options out there. People weren’t really trying the same thing twice, at least for us. Now that we’ve had it, a lot of 12 packs in our inventory because people want that consistency now that they won’t get elsewhere,” he said.

Young Blood opened this year. Before the pandemic, brew masters imagined their beer to be enjoyed from taprooms, not living rooms.

“We could look it as our business plan is completely screwed up and do all these new things, but we just look at it as fulfilling our responsibility and our mission to our customers,” Dufek said.

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