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Aluminum can shortage impacting San Antonio brewery

More people drinking at home during COVID-19 pandemic playing role in can shortage

SAN ANTONIO – The demand for aluminum cans has increased due to more people drinking from home during the pandemic, and some San Antonio breweries are feeling the impact.

“A lot of folks are staying at home and drinking beer at home, not so much going out to bars and restaurants anymore. So draft sales across the country have dropped, and you’re seeing a spike in can sales, bottled sales,” said Gregg Spickler, brewmaster at Alamo Beer Company.

Spickler said it’s hard to find sleek cans nowadays.

“We have a hard time getting our 12-ounce sleek cans because of the seltzer craze. As far as our 12-ounce standard beer can, we’re able to get those right now at the moment because we’re getting a blank can and we’re putting a label on it. If we were a brewery who had a printed can, we’d be experiencing some extremely long lead times,” Spickler said.

Lester Jones, chief economist for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, said the problem is demand exceeding supply.

“In 2019, we had a shortage of some seltzers because they had planned to make only so much of it, and demand had exceeded those plans. And here we are again in 2020 and demand has exceeded what they planned for,” Jones said.

The Aluminum Association sent KSAT the following statement:

“The aluminum beverage can manufacturing industry has seen unprecedented demand for this environmentally-friendly container prior to and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Can sheet producers have increased shipments to market, which were up significantly in May and June (the latest data available). Many new beverages are coming to market in cans and other long-standing can customers are moving away from plastic bottles due to ongoing environmental concerns around plastic pollution. Consumers also appear to be favoring the portability and storability cans as they spend more time at home.”

The pandemic forced Alamo Beer Company to make difficult decisions, including letting go of some employees.

Spickler said sales have gone down, but the company is still offering curbside options and selling products at H-E-B stores.

“It’d be great for the virus to go away, and things turn back to normal. But unfortunately, I think we’re going to see kind of an adaptation of what, you know, the new normal is,” Spickler said.


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