RALEIGH — Aluminum cans are becoming harder to come by, sparking concerns for beer and soda drinkers.
Demand for cans has gone up as people stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. As consumers kick back on their couches or patios, some manufacturers have been working to crank out enough of the beverage containers, multiple news outlets reported.
"Everyone who makes anything that goes into a 12-ounce can is being challenged to some respect," Adam Collins, spokesperson for beer maker Molson Coors, told CNN Business.
What could be behind the trend?
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, health experts have encouraged people to avoid crowded places. Concerns about the virus have also prompted officials across the country to put restrictions on bars and restaurants, meaning many may not be getting their favorite drinks at a soda fountain or on tap.
"The aluminum beverage can manufacturing industry has seen unprecedented demand for this environmentally friendly container prior to and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," industry group the Aluminum Association told USA Today. "Many new beverages are coming to market in cans, and other long-standing can customers are moving away from plastic bottles due to ongoing environmental concerns around plastic pollution."
It's also possible people have created at-home stockpiles of their favorite beverages, CNN Business reported. When the coronavirus started to spread across the United States, shoppers bought up toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other essentials, leaving some store shelves bare.
What can beer and soda fans expect?
Earlier in the pandemic, Molson Coors wrote that it had been getting enough packaged orders to rival Independence Day — usually the biggest time for sales, according to a blog post from May.
Though they didn't specifically mention that they were looking for soda cans, shoppers on Twitter recently said they had trouble finding Coca-Cola Cherry Zero, Fresca and other soft drinks.
"Like many companies, we are seeing greater demand for products consumed at home, and we are taking measures to adapt to the demand," Coca-Cola wrote in one response. "We are working closely with our customers and our suppliers to mitigate the challenge during this unprecedented time."
The company also said it didn't know exactly when certain products could be back in stock.
The demand for at-home options have also reached breweries, an industry already hit hard by coronavirus stay-at-home orders. Some distributors have said cans may not be available until next year, Lee Ellis, board president of The Brewers Guild of Alaska, told KTUU.
"We're losing our access to customers," Ellis, also president of Midnight Sun Brewing Co., told the TV station.
At Serpentine Cider in San Diego, owner Sean Harris is helping breweries that have sold out of cans as he sees a rise in demand for beverages in that packaging, KFMB reported.
"Our sales for that before COVID was about 10-12% of our sales, and now it's 60-70% of our sales," he said, according to the TV station.