Paying more for beer? Here’s why price troubles are brewing

Supply chain issues still brewing, inflation has companies seeing glass half empty

The stress of inflation might make you want to grab a cold one, but unfortunately your favorite brew is being affected too.

SAN ANTONIO – The stress of inflation might make you want to grab a cold one, but unfortunately, your favorite brew is being affected too.

“The $8.99 kind of six-pack has always been like what we had in our mind when we started this business,” said Dennis Rylander, Ranger Creek Brewery founder and owner.

Many companies across the nation now have to charge up to $10 for that same six-pack.

Ranger Creek in San Antonio hasn’t raised prices yet, but if you buy their beer from a bar or grocery store, you’ll have to pay more than usual.

“It goes through our distributor and then goes to our retailer. So everybody’s kind of experience higher costs, which, you know -- from gas prices and everything else,” Rylander said.

The pandemic’s supply chain problems are still brewing, and now inflation is piling on.

“We actually get a lot of that grain from Germany, and that’s harder just from a shipping standpoint. Shipping costs increase and then obviously the cost of the grain, too,” Rylander explained.

Seemingly small things like cardboard shipping trays have increased by 40%.

One of the biggest issues right now has to do with the cans.

“You can still get cans right now, but it takes the six months, or it takes you nine months,” Rylander said.

They also cost more, forcing business owners to make larger decisions about which types of cans to buy.

Ranger Creek uses two types of cans -- one has a layer or sleeve with a printed design laid over the aluminum. They cost about 26 cents per can right now, which is expensive, Rylander said.

The other type of can has the design printed directly onto the aluminum and only costs 13 cents per can. However, distributors need businesses to buy in bulk.

“Buying three full shipping containers worth of cans at a time, that’s probably $70,000 that you’re spending on just empty cans,” Rylander said.

You also can’t have beer without the bubbles.

Nationwide, there’s a carbon dioxide shortage. However, that’s one economic issue Ranger Creek is unaffected by, thanks to solid supplier relationships.

“So I keep my fingers crossed. I mean, part of it is we’ve been in business for over 12 years. We have good relationships with our suppliers,” he said.

One thing inflation meant for Rylander was paying his employees more. Increasing salaries has kept him competitive in a difficult job market.

“But that impacts our revenue and how we think about our products and our margins,” Rylander said.

Many small breweries have had to close out, both nationally and locally.

Still, Rylander is choosing to see the cup half full, ready to keep chugging along in order to do what he loves.

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About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.