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Aluminum crunch hits Las Vegas craft breweries

aluminum cans brewery
Posted at 10:47 PM, Apr 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 02:14:37-04

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Adjusting and adapting. Las Vegas craft breweries are dealing with an aluminum crunch shaped by shortages and huge demand.

“I get to come to work every day and try different flavors and come up with different things with our brewer, so definitely not a bad day to work.”

There are no complaints from Amanda Payan about making beer. Her business, North 5th Brewery Co. in North Las Vegas is making a name for itself since it opened in December.

“We’re happy to be here and happy to be the first ones,” Payan said.

It’s drawing in customers, and Payan would like to expand production. But overhead costs, especially from purchasing aluminum cans, is delaying that vision.

“Almost 30 to 45 percent more than we initially priced out," she said.

It’s all due to a crunch on aluminum. The price is skyrocketing during the past two years, jumping nearly 125%. Wyndee Forrest, president of the Nevada Craft Brewers Association, says vendors are now requiring bigger orders.

“We’re now sourcing cans and warehousing cans by three months, so we are working a quarter ahead,” she said.

Why is this happening? A big reason is COVID-19 lockdowns in China, the world’s largest aluminum producer. The pandemic has disrupted global supply chains. Some brewers say more people are deciding to enjoy canned beers at home instead of the taproom due to the pandemic. Forrest says there’s also the preference of craft brewers to use cans.

“We like our beer to be as fresh as possible and to get our beer out to our consumers' hands as quickly as possible,” she said.

Payan says she would prefer not to raise prices in order to help out her customers.

“The last thing we want to do is to turn it over to the consumer, so for the most part we’ve taken a little hit on that,” she said.

Payan hopes to ramp up production once the price of aluminum cans goes down.