U.S. aluminum can shortage causes South Carolina breweries to adjust

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 8:36 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2021 at 8:47 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Shortages have been a constant theme during the pandemic.

This time, it’s aluminum cans, but businesses in the Lowcountry said it’s not much of a problem in the area.

Tradesmen Brewing is located right off of I-26 and say good portion of their customers are not from around the area. They said that means when customers find something they like, they won’t be taking it home in cans because of the shortage and rise in costs.

Tradesmen Brewing in Charleston started using cans for their craft beers in 2018. Before that and during the can shortage, staff said they use growlers for packaging.

“Anybody would say, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen a difference in the price of my favorite beer in the last couple months. It’s gone up,’” said Sarah Gayle McConnell, co-owner and co-founder of Tradesmen Brewing Co.

Growlers come in 32 or 64 ounces. They are air-tight beer vessels.

Owners said you can think of it like a small keg.

“If [people] have to adjust for a little bit because of the market, they usually do because they know you’re going to eventually help them get their favorite beer from you,” said McConnell.

Tradesmen said when they did have cans, it came from a mobile can service, which increased their prices during the pandemic.

“If we were to sell it like originally, we would only make about 2 cents to 5 cents a can,” McConnell said.

Local breweries said it’s not just beer playing a factor in this shortage, “It’s Pepsi, Cola, tonic water, juices, anything on a grocery store list,” said McConnell.

Other breweries in the area said the shortage isn’t affecting them because they stocked up during the pandemic and shopped in bulk.

Tradesmen said while the shortage hasn’t caused a major dip in business for them, they’re open to serving in cans again, if they can do it without the spike in prices.

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