The can packaging debate is pretty much over in the craft beer industry — craft brewers are loving cans — just ask Crown Beverage Packaging about it. Crown is the biggest supplier of aluminum cans to the beer industry in the United States, and demand has been so high that beverage professionals are talking about a shortage. And it’s already affecting craft brewers. We cite The New York Times:
In the past, some smaller breweries and their distributors that needed only a few thousand cans at a time worked with Crown, a major manufacturer. It required a much smaller minimum order than two of its main competitors, Ball and Rexam. But the enormous surge in demand for cans squeezed the company, which raised its minimum order to the industry-standard truckload, which can range from roughly 155,000 to 200,000, depending on the size of the can.
“That’s a lot of cans to store, it’s a lot of cash to lay out, and the little guys just don’t have that,” said Tim Dorward, a mobile canner whose clients often refer to him as Tim the Can Man. “Crown was working with people, and they’re very interested in the craft industry, but it just caught them by surprise.”
In a statement, Thomas T. Fischer, a spokesman for Crown, said the company recognized that the new order minimum could present a challenge for some brewers, and that Crown had recommended alternatives.
Crown, Ball and Rexam all say they are looking at ways to address the growing demand for cans.