New problems on tap for breweries: supply chain, inflation causing shortage issues

PITTSBURGH — A new problem is on tap for breweries.

Scott Smith, the owner of the East End Brewing Company, says the biggest supply chain issue is a shortage of cans.

He’s having to purchase cans outside the country, which is very rare.

“It’s been brutal just trying to find a container to put our beer in,” said Smith.Smith shared what caused the shortage during the pandemic.

“There’s a limited amount of can-making capacity in the U.S. and when everyone was closed there was a big move away from draft beer into package beer,” said Smith.

Another problem is inflation.

Smith says they are seeing warning signs that costs could go up for malted barley, one of the main ingredients in beer.

”And you really need barley to be able to make beer,” said Smith. “I think it was a combined situation with supply chain issues with also some rough weather seasons so a shortage for barley supply is looming on the horizon, as if we don’t need another challenge to fight through.”

He says the shortage comes at a bad time as the weather warms up and he expects business to pick up.

“Ultimately, if this keeps up, we will have to raise our beer prices. We have no choice but for now we are eating that additional cost,” said Smith.

Smith hopes to keep his beer prices unchanged through the summer, but that could change.