Aluminum Can Shortage Is Making It Harder To Find Your Favorite Beer… And 2020 Just Keeps Getting Worse

A shelf with cans and bottles of alcohol

It seems like every few days I find myself thinking that 2020 can’t possibly get any worse.

Yet, it keeps getting worse…

We’ve been stuck inside for almost 5 months now with no concerts, sports or bars to keep us entertained. Pretty much the only thing we’ve been able to do during this shitshow of a year is stay home and drink. You grab a six pack or two at the grocery store, go home, drink it all in one night, wake up the next day and do it all over again because what the fuck else is there to do.

If 2020 had an anthem, it would be Merle Haggard’s classic “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.”

But if you’ve noticed that you there are fewer options to choose from in the beer aisle these days, there’s a reason for that: An aluminum can shortage.

According to the Can Manufacturers Institute (who knew that was a thing), the can industry is experiencing a shortage due to “unprecedented demand” in aluminum cans right now. It happens that demand for cans was already high before the shutdowns with more and more people drinking hard seltzers. You hear that? White Claw is stealing all the aluminum away from you favorite beer.

And now, with people doing all their drinking at home, demand for beer to drink at home has skyrocketed. And with people doing all their drinking from a can instead of a tap these days, all that beer that would have been sent to bars and restaurants in kegs is now being packaged for sale to customers in stores – and there aren’t enough aluminum cans to meet the demand.

As a result, smaller breweries are having to reduce the variety of beers that they’re producing. But it’s not just craft breweries that are cutting products from their portfolio – even Molson Coors, which produces brands like Coors Light and Blue Moon, have had to shift production to its most popular brands and away from some of their smaller products. That means that it may be harder to find your favorite beers if you’re looking for something other than a Silver Bullet, because there just aren’t enough aluminum cans for the smaller brands after breweries meet the increased demand for their bigger products.

The good news is that beer manufacturers have started importing cans from overseas to meet demands, and can manufacturers are ramping up their facilities to try to meet demand (although these new production lines and facilities aren’t going to be operational for at least a year, and damn I hope this is all over in a year).

So if you have a favorite beer, you may want to go ahead and stock up now – especially if it’s not one of the bigger brands. Hell, actually just go ahead and stock up on everything, because it’s 2020 and you never know what’s going to happen next. If whiskey is the next shortage we have to deal with, I want to be prepared.

And speaking of beer cans, here’s another ode to everybody’s favorite aluminum can.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock