Could a CO2 shortage cause problems for Wisconsin brewers?

MILWAUKEE – A shortage of carbon dioxide could spell trouble for Wisconsin’s beer industry.

Brewers use carbon dioxide to make beer and other “sparkling” and carbonated beverages.

Now, some news outlets are reporting carbon dioxide shortages — so far, mostly in Massachusetts and the East Coast. American Gas Products has canceled or reduced deliveries to some breweries due to “significantly affected production”, according to the Boston Globe.

The Massachusetts Brewers Guild tells the outlet it knows of “at least a dozen or more” brewers affected by the shortage.

The lack of CO2 poses certain problems for brewers. It is pumped into the beer to add carbonation and prevent the beer from mixing with oxygen during the production and canning process.

Nitrogen can be used instead of CO2 to move beer from tank to tank. But CO2 is needed to carbonate beer.

Restaurants also use CO2 to pour soft drinks and draft beer.

A Wisconsin Brewers Guild board member told TMJ4 that they hope the CO2 shortage won’t affect our state as much because many industries produce CO2 as a byproduct.

“A lot of people know that beer has four ingredients: water, barley, hops, yeast. Most brewers have a fifth ingredient which is CO2. So adding CO2 to the finished product adds that,” Kevin said. Wright, co-founder. and master brewer at Third Space Brewing.

“It adds to the finished mouthfeel of the beer and it’s also important from a quality standpoint compared to all of our other raw materials,” Wright said. “It goes into every beer we make.”

The maker of Sanpellegrino meanwhile “reduced” production due to the shortage, and a California water park temporarily shut down its splash zone for lack of CO2 to treat the water, according to Reuters.

TMJ4’s Julia Fello will update this article Wednesday evening with her reporting from Wisconsin.

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