Inflation slams craft breweries as aluminum can costs rise

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Inflation is coming for our beer now.

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The rising cost of aluminum cans and bottles has squeezed craft breweries across the country, forcing them to hike prices on tap.

Broomfield, Colorado-based Ball Corp — one of the world’s largest suppliers of aluminum cans and other reusable beverage containers — recently told customers that it is looking to increase prices and allow cans that can be ordered by some producers. Planning to raise the minimum number of

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From January 1, the company will increase the minimum order for non-contract customers, which include many smaller breweries, to five truckloads, or about one million cans – from just one truckload, According to CNN.

Bell also said the price per can is rising by about 50 percent for at least some non-contract customers, according to a notice sent to breweries as seen by CNN.

Ball Corp. will soon increase the minimum order for non-contract customers, which include several smaller breweries, from one truck to five truckloads.
Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via Getty Images
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The changes are “an economic killer for some,” said Garrett Marrero, CEO and co-founder of Maui Brewing Company in Hawaii, “and of course most small brewers will have to raise prices significantly or rethink their entire model.” “

“This is going to create a paradigm shift in craft beer going forward,” he said.

“It’s still very new, so we’re still trying to gather information from our members who are being affected,” Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association, told CNN.

Upslope Brewing Company's head brewer Danielle Pages checks for clarity and will test the flavor of the beer before it is transferred to the carbonation tank.
Upslope Brewing Company’s head brewer Danielle Pages checks for clarity and will test the flavor of the beer before it is transferred to the carbonation tank.
Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Brewers Association is a trade group representing small and independent brewers across the country.

Pease said the change would mean hundreds of craft brewers would need to source their cans elsewhere, potentially putting the industry on hold for some time.

The Brewers Association, which also represents Ball, is considering reaching out to policymakers, according to Pease, and representatives of the group plan to meet with Ball executives next month.

A manager stands next to a pallet of aluminum food cans inside the warehouse of the Ball Corp Beverage Can Manufacturing Facility.
A manager stands next to a pallet of aluminum food cans inside the warehouse of the Ball Corp Beverage Can Manufacturing Facility.
Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Matt Cutter, co-founder of Upslope Brewing in Boulder, Colorado, told CNN that the move could force brewers to increase prices on the Kraft six-pack by $1 to $2.

“As craft brewers, we are not rolling the dough here,” he said. “We can’t absorb it. It will put us out of business.”

Upslope is one of the few breweries in America that packs its beer exclusively in aluminum cans, meaning it’s going to be even tougher with Ball’s move on Jan.

Bell said the company is increasing the price per can by about 50 percent for at least some non-contract customers.
Bell said the company is increasing the price per can by about 50 percent for at least some non-contract customers.
Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ball, for its part, is investing in capacity expansion by building five new plants in the US, but that isn’t going to make an impact in the short term because demand is outpacing supply.

“Ball is investing in bringing excess capacity online, and in the meantime we remain in a tight supply environment for the foreseeable future,” Ball said in a letter to beer makers, according to CNN.

“This environment is making it difficult for us to provide our customers with the quality customer experience we expect from Ball, and we are making some adjustments to how we do business to fix this.”

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