Will An Aluminum Can Shortage Sharpen Competition In The Craft Beer Industry?

If you don’t know someone in the craft beer industry, then odds are you, yourself, or someone you know, enjoys what it produces.

That’s because small craft brews have exploded and completely changed the way alcoholic beverages are marketing and sold.

 

Beer drinkers now have an extensive array of beers from which to choose and some haven even gone into the brewery business for themselves.

While the emergence of this now massive market has resulted in remarkable prosperity for some, there’s one major issue that could stifle the industry overall.

This specific obstacle is less about the beer itself than it is about one of its common containers.

Credit: Helfmann

Smaller Orders, Bigger Cans, Steep Competition 
To reduce overhead costs and define their brand, many craft brew companies have decided to skip the bottle—which has been the more traditional vessel fore craft beers—and sold their product in aluminum cans. Some have even opted for a 16 oz. can to help stand out from the bigger, mass-market breweries.

This has amounted to considerable demand on the U.S.’s leading aluminum can manufacturers, including Crown, Ball, and Rexam, and stressed supplies to such an extent that brewers have sometimes had to wait weeks or months for orders of cans to be fulfilled.

Time To Go Back To The Bottle?
The shortage has caused some can manufacturers to raise their order minimums, which meant that the smaller craft brewers that typically don’t need cans in such large quantities are facing a new obstacle in this incredibly competitive market.

Perhaps some will return to the bottle, especially as Ball’s decision to buy Rexam could exasperate the aluminum can shortage.

However, that switch could prove to be costly and time consuming for many smaller brewers. Will it mean the beginning of the end for some small businesses?

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Will an aluminum can shortage impact your industry?

Article Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com
http://www.manufacturing.net
http://www.foodproductiondaily.com
http://www.grubstreet.com

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