INDIANAPOLIS — As bars and restaurants started to close around the country, local breweries started shifting focus to carry out and liquor store sales.
That sudden rush on canned beer led to a rush on the cans themselves, leading to an industry-wide shortage on aluminum.
Even with the tap room closed, Friday was a busy day at Indiana City Brewing. The brewery spent the morning packaging hundreds of cans of their double IPA. Once a small part of their business, cans are now all the rage.
“As soon as it’s in cans, it’s gone,” said the brewery’s founder Ray Kamstra.
Kamstra says can sales are up 50%. They now sell thousands of cans a week, both at the brewery and in stores around Indy.
“The grocery stores and the liquor stores that carry our beer are having record sales right now,” Kamstra said.
But that demand is catching up to the supply. As orders continue pouring in, aluminum is running low.
“Even our supplier recommended that we order as much as we can now because they’re anticipating challenges getting what they need to supply all their customers,” Kamstra said.
So far, Kamstra hasn’t had any issues getting the aluminum he needs. However, in his recent order, the price per can went up at least 4 cents. It’s a significant jump considering he orders thousands every week.
“It’s not the highest margin side of our business,” Kamstra said of can sales. “So, any little bit that cuts into that just reduces our margins even further.”
Overall, business at Indiana City is not at the same level it was pre-COVID, but cans are keeping the beer flowing. They just hope the supply can keep up with their demand.
Local distributor Monarch Beverage also says they’ve seen a drastic increase in can sales this year, with sales on seltzers are up 200%.