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Why There Could Be a Shortage of Pumpkin Beers This Year

August 10, 2016, 8:47 PM UTC
A warewolf carved on a pumpkin next to t
A warewolf carved on a pumpkin next to the beers that fed it's creator are seen on October 27, 2010 at the Helix Hotel in Washington, DC. The Helix Lounge's Pumpkin Carving Contest gives would-be carvers a pre-scooped pumpkin, carving tools and two hours to fashion their scariest Jack-O-Lantern for a chance to win a free night's stay at the hotel. AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

There’s a shortage of pumpkins this year, and for beer lovers, Thanksgiving pies and jack-o’-lanterns are a secondary concern. Brewers are having trouble finding enough puree for their pumpkin beers, Draft reports, putting a strain on pumpkin ale producers ahead of the fall brewing season.

The shortage does not appear to be crippling to the industry but brewers who ordered their puree late may be out of luck. Nebraska Brewing Co. president Paul Kavulak told Draft his company brewed its Wick for Brains pumpkin beer five times as it struggled to find a pumpkin source.

“We did end up finding a supplier, but not until after a few years were dropped from my lifespan trying to figure things out,” Kavulak said.


A similar problem cropped up last year, when heavy summer rainfall washed out pumpkin crops in Illinois—the largest pumpkin farming state in the country—and forced puree suppliers to use up their reserves to meet demands. The second biggest producer, California, continues to suffer from drought, which also hurt its production last year.

This year’s shortage is likely being impacted by the depleted reserves from the 2015 pumpkin shortage, though farmers are having issues this year, too. Draft also reported that bad weather produced a poor crop for the local farmers who supply pumpkins to Virginia-based Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.

Still, some pumpkin beers are already on shelves, and it’s likely this year’s puree troubles will at worst delay the release of pumpkin ale. 2017, however, may be a different story.