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Price hike: Beer can company policy change delayed, giving small Wisconsin breweries time to plan

Aluminum can shortage
Posted at 4:31 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 17:31:51-05

MILWAUKEE — Aluminum can manufacturer Ball said in November that starting Jan. 1 they will require customers to buy a minimum of five truckloads of cans at once. However, Ball announced it will now delay the changes until March 1.

The delays will give craft breweries time to plan alternative methods for getting cans printed, as well as work out kinks the policy could create, according to Brewers Association.

Once those changes take place, consumers of small Wisconsin breweries could see a price hike in 2022.

The brewers themselves have been dealing with the higher price of ingredients for some time now, but the cost of aluminum cans could be what forces them to raise prices.

The increase comes after aluminum can manufacturers have raised prices and placed minimums on the amount of cans customers buy.

Ball also announced it will no longer warehouse inventory on behalf of customers, as well as pointed most non-contract customers to a set of distributors for future orders, according to Brewers Association.

Brands that sell in smaller quantities could be in jeopardy of being discontinued or canned a different way.

According to our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal, Ball's policy change will likely have little impact on a brewing giant like Molson Coors Beverage Co. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that Ball warned of likely delays in getting orders of cans to 1,200 independent-brewery customers nationwide, saying it would be “challenging for us to give delivery-date assurances to non-contracted customers.”

Ball also warned that the shortage of aluminum would force price increases of more than 35%, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.

Andy Gehl, co-founder of Third Space Brewing, previously told TMJ4 news that he believes the industry will likely pass the price increases on to the consumer in 2022 with some brewers charging more than others.

“I think industry wide there is going to be an increase on prices” said Gehl.

He believes customers can expect to pay abut 50 cents more for a six-pack in 2022.

Many are adding production across the US, but that is likely to take time, leading to at least a short term hike in prices.

The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that in 2020, craft brewing had a $2.38 billion economic impact in Wisconsin through a total of 224 craft breweries, according to stats from the Brewers Association.

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