Aluminum Can Shortage Having Huge Impacts On Northland Breweries And Cideries

Canned beverage sales account for 90% of revenue for Bent Paddle Brewing.

DULUTH, Minn. – Breweries and cideries in the Northland are being thrown another curveball as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A national aluminum can shortage is beginning to have major impacts on those businesses, which is causing some big concerns.

Many breweries and cideries are scrambling to get their hands on a supply of aluminum cans to survive the increasing demand for beverages.

To-go beer and cider sales have gone up as more people are choosing to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The increase in sales is drying up the supply of aluminum cans.

“We were trying to order cans from our suppliers. The cans we were going to order were sold to someone else, Now we don’t have any,” said Adam Ruhland, co-owner of Wild State Cider.

Like many  other beverage businesses, this is the unfortunate reality for Wild State Cider in Duluth.

More than half the money the business makes is from canned beverage sales.

A continuous shortage could mean big trouble for the company.

“It’s bad. Its a problem in addition to all the problems that come with COVID-19. It is something we didn’t think we had to deal with,” said Ruland.

Fortunately, Bent Paddle Brewing Company in Duluth, caught wind of the trend happening at larger breweries in the state.

This gave the popular beverage company a leg up in the race to get aluminum cans.

“We over-communicated with our suppliers to ensure our supply was secured. We are looking pretty good for the next couple of months. Beyond that, we will have to see where things go,” said Bryon Tonnis, CEO and director of brewing operations for Bent Paddle Brewing.

Just like Wild State Cider, can sales are make up a huge chunk of revenue for Bent Paddle.

“Probably 90% comes from can sales. If we are not able to produce beer in cans it can definitely be a problem,” said Tonnis.

There is only a handful of aluminum can distributors in the nation.

With most of them running low on supply, it is believed the outlook on the can shortage may not be so optimistic.

According to the local breweries and cideries we spoke too, many believe the aluminum can suppliers are attempting to increase capacity to keep up with the demand, but that may take longer than expected.

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