Houston breweries grapple with aluminum can shortage

An aluminum can shortage slammed the beverage industry last year and continues to plague supply chains this summer. In Houston, beverage makers are being forced to innovate to avoid running out.

“All the breweries were forced to switch to packaged product,” said Bryce Baker, the co-founder of 11 Below Brewing Company, referencing the period in 2020 when on-premise drinking stopped during the shutdown. “So there was a huge increase in demand for cans and a big can shortage.”  

Yet the pandemic is only partially to blame for the problem. Aluminum can plants were already nearing capacity before COVID-19. The National Beer Wholesalers Association reports that the percentage of beer that ends up in cans increased from 50% to 60% between 2010 to 2019, according to CNN.

That number skyrocketed to 67% in 2020, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, meaning two-thirds of all beer is going into cans..

Over the last decade, cans have also become more popular in other beverage markets. So, when the pandemic shifted beer consumption from kegs to cans, aluminum can facilities reached a tipping point.

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