In recent months, many U.S. breweries have had difficulty finding carbon dioxide (CO2) due to supply chain problems, leading to a possible beer shortage in the United States this fall.
A key ingredient in beer, CO2 is the gas that gives the alcohol its crisp, effervescent taste. Contributing to beer foam and shelf stability, the gas is used throughout the production and packaging process, according to experts. Without CO2, many types of beers fall flat.
According to NBC News, the beer crisis grew worse this summer as reports emerged that the CO2 sourced at Jackson Dome, in Mississippi, one of the nation’s largest gas production hubs, had been contaminated. CO2 supplies were already tight because pandemic shutdowns forced many key suppliers offline.
Even before that, breweries were facing higher costs for raw materials like aluminum and barley as a result of inflation.
Overall, these conditions are directly affecting the country’s beer supply, and they may be pushing struggling brewers — especially smaller operations — beyond the point of recovery.