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The beer industry is still feeling the pandemic’s ripple effects, and they’re perhaps most acute when it comes to packaging costs. As Americans bought more packaged everything—not just beer, but stationary bikes, jigsaw puzzles, pasta, painter’s tape, and furniture—demand for cardboard and aluminum increased from their already-high rates. Freight costs, too, have skyrocketed, and the price of plastic PakTech handles jumped by double digits early this summer.
Seemingly everything that breweries need to get their beer onto shelves has become more expensive in the past year. These rising costs are challenging breweries to use as few materials as possible, as efficiently as possible, while still getting their beers into consumers’ hands in packaged form. While the industry steadily approaches a full draft-beer recovery, packaged beer sales remain critical—as long as rising costs don’t eat too far into those margins.