Shortage of aluminum cans prompts breweries to slow beer production

Popular Arkansas beers like Bluewing Berry Wheat may become harder to find if can makers continue to be unable to keep up.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A nationwide shortage of aluminum cans is forcing some local breweries to suspend or slow production of some of their most popular beers.

First it was toilet paper, then hand sanitizer – now it’s aluminum cans.

“We have a lot of draft, we just don’t have the boxes to put it in,” Russ Melton said.

Russ Melton is the president of Diamond Bear Brewing Company. The shortage of cans leads it to interrupt production of its most popular products.

“We were supposed to get our cans in early July and we needed to move our production to September 1 now,” Melton said.

This means that it may be harder to find your favorite beers in the future. He also said most manufacturers would only sell by truck, which is expensive for small brewers like Melton himself.

“I understand and I’m just waiting until all of our distributors can try to communicate to our customers that our strawberry lager will not be available,” he said.

Jess McMullen is the owner of Flyway Brewing, where he also has the same problem.

“We’ve had 30 to 60 day delays on some of our cans,” he said. “Even when you’re in the grocery store and the soda aisle, you see it’s just Coke, Sprite and Dr. Pepper. It’s affecting everyone right now.”

He believes that this shortage is a problem of supply and demand. With the pandemic forcing people to not eat so much, people are buying packs of beer instead.


“There have been a lot of months of record sales for some breweries that have cans on the market, so cans are up but drinking places are down,” McMullen said.

For the most part, McMullen should have enough supply until his manufacturer can catch up. But, it has slowed production of its most popular beers like Blue Wing.

“We haven’t gotten out of it yet, but we used to have pretty good inventory that we kept all the time, but now it’s very close,” he said.

He asks customers to be patient in the coming months.

“If you see an empty shelf once in a while, know that it won’t stay empty for long if we’ve got something to do with it,” McMullen said.

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