Brewing companies come up with conservation solutions amid CO2 shortage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Many people are celebrating Labor Day by drinking a nice cold beer, but the latest nationwide shortage has been threatening a critical part of the brewing and pouring process.

A supply chain issue is limiting access to CO2, which is used in almost all carbonated drinks. The shortage has made it harder to get the important gas and increased prices for the tanks that are available.

Local breweries, like Tailgate Brewing Company, are getting creative to avoid running out of CO2 and having to shut down production.

Owner Wes Keegan said they have been working with their supplier to top off their gas tank when it gets low instead of waiting for a complete refill when it is empty. This is the latest supple chain issue after shortages of hops and other ingredients during the pandemic.

“Everything is going up in prices,” Keegan said. “This is no exception, so it might be something that costs more, it might be something that might not be readily available.”

“The second these headlines started coming out, (our local supplier) reached out to us and said, ‘hey, this is where we are at. This is where you are at. You’re going to be ok. Let’s keep talking and make sure we are being proactive rather than reactive.’”

Keegan said CO2 is used to both carbonate and preserve beer by keeping it away from oxygen. Every brewery and restaurant rely on the gas every day for making beer and pumping it from a keg to a glass.

“If there was no CO2, we would have flat beer,” Keegan said. “We like to talk about water, hops, yeast, grain, those types of ingredients. CO2 is something that we just kind of always assumed would be there and never considered this would be something that would be at risk.”

He is hopeful they will be able to continue getting the supplies needed to brew and package beer across all Tailgate breweries and taprooms but said some other smaller and newer breweries that might not have the same standing with their supplier could be having bigger issues with the shortage.

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