MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you’ve purchased a can of beer from Wiseacre Brewing lately, you may have noticed the can looks a little different, like the label doesn’t belong.
“It’s still the same beer. The cans are just going to look a little bit different,” Wiseacre CEO Kellan Bartosch said.
Management says it was done on purpose, but not by choice. An industry-wide aluminum shortage is to blame and it’s all due to COVID-19. To move forward with business, the company had to get creative.
“There is a can demand issue. So, there is enough aluminum to produce, but the factories can’t keep up with the demand that’s happened since COVID,” Bartosch said.
Bartosch says brewing companies are having to relabel their unused cans to accommodate all of their products.
He says because people aren’t eating out as much, less draft beer is being sold, which he says makes up 40% of his sales. As a result, more canned drinks are being sold, causing the demand to climb.
“While those can sales are up, it’s not enough for us to make up for the loss in draft,” Bartosch said.
He says they have considered using glass containers but says it won’t work since they don’t have the packaging equipment to make the bottle sizes required by many grocery stores.
Bartosch says for the next couple of months the Memphis brewery, which has locations in downtown and on Broad, has enough can supply to produce all their brands but after that, they’re moving into unknown territory.
“If we can’t put beer into the right vessel to get it to the store, we lose that opportunity to sell beer and then there’s kind of a chain reaction to that here with our staff.”
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