Craft Beer Companies Are Running Short on This Key ‘Ingredient’

December 15, 2015, 3:28 PM UTC
Craft Beer Fans Go To Great Lengths To Buy Top-Rated Brew
WATERBURY, VT - JANUARY 21: Cans of Heady Topper are filled at the Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, VT on January 21, 2015. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Photograph by Boston Globe via Getty Images

Cans have become such a popular choice for craft brewers that small beer makers are reportedly facing shortages in supply.

The shortfall is especially acute for 16-ounce cans, which craft brewers sell in four-packs to distinguish themselves from big beer brands that package 12-ounce cans in six-packs, according to the New York Times.

In response to rising demand, craft brewers’ major can manufacturer of choice, Crown, upped its minimum order. Previously, Crown wooed craft brewers—who often need only a few thousand cans at a time—by allowing customers to order half-truckloads. Now, the minimum order is a full truckload, which includes as many as 200,000 cans.

The change comes after rapid growth in Crown’s craft division: the company’s craft beer business has more than tripled in the past few years. In a statement to Fortune, Thomas T. Fischer, Crown’s vice president of investor relations and corporate affairs said that craft beer sector’s growth has pushed demand for cans to an all-time high.

“To support this growth, we are actively exploring options to make more 12oz. and 16oz. cans available to the market,” Fischer said. Meanwhile, Fischer acknowledged the minimum order change, which occurred in October, posed problems for small breweries, and he said that Crown had proposed alternative approaches to them.

While cans used to be reserved for cheap, fraternity basement beer, the packaging has experienced a resurgence in the craft beer market in recent years thanks to the large surface area available for elaborate branding designs. The demand for printed cans is what’s put the strain on Crown’s business, craft division business development and sales manager Nick Osborne told Brewbound.