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Supply Shortage: The 'Candemic'

The crunch on aluminum cans comes just when COVID-19 fears have made breweries more dependent than ever on packaged-beer sales. Relief is unlikely to arrive soon.

Joe Stange Oct 3, 2020 - 12 min read

Supply Shortage: The 'Candemic' Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Boneyard Beer

Boneyard Beer in Bend, Oregon, bought a canning line back in 2010, the year of the brewery’s founding. It collected dust for a decade.

Tony Lawrence, founder and brewer of Boneyard, says the plan was to start as a draft-only brewery—then, maybe, they would start packaging beer in their second year. That never happened. Demand for fresh, kegged Boneyard beer—such as its popular flagship, RPM IPA—remained strong in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years. “So, the draft pathway was chosen for us,” Lawrence says. “And we liked it.” The brewery grew to produce more than 30,000 barrels per year—all in kegs.

Then came the pandemic and the lockdown that weekend of March 14. Draft beer went into hibernation. It was plain to Lawrence and his Boneyard team that they would have to start packaging in earnest—but that old 10-cans-per-minute machine from a decade earlier was not going to cut it. Within a few days of the lockdown, they had booked Craft Canning, a mobile service, for a couple of dates in April.

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Joe Stange is Managing Editor of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and the Brewing Industry Guide®. Have story tips or suggestions? Contact him at [email protected].