Carbon, carbon everywhere, but not a drop to distribute. Massachusetts’s Night Shift Brewing made headlines with its decision to outsource production after its CO2 supplier told them its shipment would be cut by 75 percent. This is a high profile casualty of the “CO2 shortage” (as well as a problem with sole supplier contracts) but not an isolated issue.
Food grade CO2 supply has been tight since the pandemic. Suppliers have staffing problems. Contamination at Mississippi’s Jackson Dome, a key site of naturally occurring CO2, has made much of the region’s production unusable for food-grade use. Plus, peak summer demand has coincided with maintenance shutdowns at ammonia plants (which are major suppliers along with gas refineries).
Are you nervous about the CO2 shortage? What are you hearing in your area? How are you planning ahead?
In the CBP group, brewing pros shared their tips and experiences. Our favorites are below. Our least favorites are all variations of the same “wait, I thought we had too much CO2 …” joke.
Are you nervous about the CO2 shortage? How are you planning ahead?
Steven Abraham, Rutland Beer Works | Not really nervous, but it’s a good reminder to maintain an open dialogue with your supplier about potential supply issues. I won’t speak much about Night Shift’s decision, but it certainly seems like the CO2 issues were a very small part of shutting down the Everett production.
Ed Generose | No, our supplier said we’re fine, but were a baby brewery. 5bbl
Neal Engleman, Three Taverns Brewery | Cleaning/sanitizing brites under pressure and breaking them down every 4 turns. Certainly helps in getting more longevity out of each CO2 tank fill!
Jonathan Edward Kemp, Fort Collins | Our brewery has recently achieved a net plus, allowing us to supply sister breweries. Lots of work went into achieving this. I was unaware of the shortage though other than the mandate we keep brewing!
Scott Hedeen | There was talk a year or so back about this. no shortage of gas just drivers and workers to get the gas to the distribution areas. it was mainly out west.
Dan Ouellette, Fall Brewing Co. | In CA I am currently on emergency fill only rationing via my supplier. I have a 1500lb bulk system and last week I was given 500lbs total. I was told he wasn’t even supposed to fill us because we weren’t empty. 500lbs to move, package, and serve beer. Good thing my canning line eats co2 all day.
John Watt | These could help reduce usage in the brewery: Spunding valve.
- Brendan O’Leary, Biermi and True Respite Brewing Co. | We use them all the time
- Peter EarthBiscuit | Doesn’t help with packaging or purging…
Jacob Winski, Nomad World Pub | I’ve heard about “co2 shortages” for the last 2.5 years now, we are a larger scale brewery doing about 40k-60k barrels a year and have had zero issues from any actual shortages, we have 2 different suppliers and both have told us that they don’t for see any shortages.
Christopher Venantius, Pig Minds Brewing Co. | Local news just asked to come interview us for a story they’re putting together about the shortage. Idk what to tell them – we’re not having any issues 🤞 yet.
Joel Halbleib, Hive and Barrel Meadery | Here comes the new cottage industry…You too can own a co2 capturing machine. Why buy it when you make it. Just give us $70,000.
- Joseph Clinton | More like 120K
Liz Schlegel, Waterbury, Vt. | Check out Earthly Labs technology, well worth the investment.
Joseph Soleno, Fresno | Nitro beers ftw