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Craft breweries are closing due to carbon shortages in the US

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Craft breweries across America have been on the front lines of businesses facing higher material costs due to inflation.

Now many face a shortage of a key ingredient: carbon dioxide, the gas that gives beer its crisp, bubbly flavor.

And one brewery has already announced that it will shut down a key production facility, laying off workers as a result.

Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, cited the lack of carbon as the reason it is ceasing operations at its long-standing facility and instead is outsourcing to nearby locations.

“On October 1, we likely won’t have jobs for many of this team,” the company said in a statement on Instagram.

It’s a creeping crisis that worsened this summer when reports surfaced that carbon dioxide from Mississippi’s Jackson Dome, one of the largest gas producing hubs in the country, was contaminated.

Brewers were already facing higher costs for commodities like aluminum and barley as a result of inflation, said Chuck Skypeck, a technical director for brewing projects at the Brewers Association, the 6,000-strong trade association representing America’s independent brewers.

And carbon supplies were already tight because pandemic shutdowns forced many key suppliers off the grid, a disruption they still haven’t recovered from, he said. The summer is also a pressure point in carbon supplies as key facilities go offline for scheduled maintenance, he said.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been spot shortages across the country,” Skypeck said.

But the sudden halt to shipments from Mississippi appears to have worsened the situation for some struggling brewers past the point of recovery.

“Our members have been through two and a half years of Covid shutdown and other supply chain issues and inflation, so it’s just another blow in a long line of challenges they’ve faced,” Skypeck said. “Some members have thrown in the towel.”

In an email, Sam Rushing, president of Advanced Cryogenics, a carbon dioxide industry consultancy, said a possible shift in the geology of the region near Jackson, Mississippi, has released contaminants such as sulfur compounds in gas wells. NBC News reached out to Denbury, one of the largest gas producers in the area, for further comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Katie Stinchon, executive director of the Massachusetts Brewer’s Guild, told WBTS-TV in Boston that a dozen or more breweries have the same bottlenecks as Night Shift.

“And those are just the ones I know,” she said.

But the problem seems to have spread beyond the Northeast. Skypeck said he’s heard from members of the Brewing Association in virtually every part of the US that they are now running low on carbon supplies.

“I think it’s just the beginning,” Skypeck said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/craft-beer-breweries-shutting-down-carbon-dioxide-shortage-rcna41346 Craft breweries are closing due to carbon shortages in the US

Fry Electronics Team

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