DES MOINES, Iowa — Craft breweries across the country are dealing with inflation like almost every other business. Now, a new problem is forcing some breweries to scale back or get creative. Carbon dioxide is in short supply.
The reason behind the major supply disruption of CO2 is contamination at Jackson Dome, the nation’s largest supplier of carbon dioxide in Mississippi. With no timeline on when operations will be back to full strength, large breweries that rely on a constant supply of CO2 are cutting back.
“I just got word that some friends at a big brewery in Colorado are shutting down for a week,” Keaton Scott, head brewer at Big Grove Brewery in Des Moines, said.
Big Grove recently opened a new location in Des Moines. Scott said they’re adapting to maximize the gas they have.
“We just recently installed, at our production brewery, a system from Earthly labs in Austin, Texas. It’s a CO2 recovery unit,” Scott said. “Toward the very tail end of fermentation we’ll cap the tank and use some of that CO2 in production to help pressurize and carbonate the tank.”
Gas that would otherwise be vented out and not used.
“We fill the can with CO2, evacuate it, fill it again and then fill beer on top. The whole purpose of that is to purge out the oxygen; oxygen is beer’s worst nightmare.” Scott said.
Scott said they’re not seeing any disruptions now, but they are closely monitoring the supply of CO2 so they can continue making their products.