• By The Financial District

Big U.S. Aluminum Can Maker Slaps Higher Prices On Craft Brewers

Your next can of craft beer might be a lot more expensive. Ball Corp., one of the world's largest suppliers of aluminum cans, is sending shockwaves throughout the craft beer world after lifting the minimum number of cans certain producers must order and saying it will raise prices, Alicia Wallace reported for CNN Business.

Photo Insert: The expected $1 to $2 price increase for a six-pack will be creating a different kind of buzz among beer drinkers.

Ball said it will now require that non-contract customers -- who include many smaller breweries -- order no fewer than five truckloads (roughly 1.02 million cans) per each of their beverages starting on January 1.

The previous purchase minimum was one truckload per product. Starting in 2022, Ball wrote that it would no longer be able to store excess cans from those non-contract customers in its warehouses and that the price-per-can would increase by nearly 50% for at least some non-contract customers, according to notices sent to breweries.

With the price of aluminum cans rising, a craft beer six-pack would cost between $1 and $2 higher.

The news has many small and regional breweries scrambling to secure cans and has spurred fears of heftier costs, reduced variety, and higher prices for consumers. Hawaii-based Maui Brewing received word from Ball Corp. this month that purchase minimums for aluminum cans will increase fivefold.

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“I do see this as an economic killer for some, and certainly most small brewers are going to have to raise prices significantly or rethink their entire models," said Garrett Marrero, chief executive officer and co-founder of Maui Brewing Co. in Hawaii.

The tight-knit craft beer industry was already reeling from pandemic-spurred restaurant and taproom closures, inflationary pressures, can shortages and other supply chain disruptions.

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Then, a little over a week ago, notices from Ball landed in the inboxes of hundreds of craft brewers across the country, according to the Brewers Association, the trade organization representing small and independent brewers.

The Denver Westword was the first to report about Ball's purchase minimums. With fewer than six weeks until the new year, hundreds of craft brewers will no longer be able to buy their pre-printed cans directly from Ball and instead will have to secure one of the most critical components of their business from new sources, said Bob Pease, president and chief executive officer of the Brewers Association.

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