CLEVELAND — Carbonation crisis! A carbon dioxide shortage in many areas of the country causing some beer brewers to stop production and cut jobs. But do beer-lovers here in our area have anything to worry about?
3News talked to a Cleveland brewmaster with Collision Bend in the Flats who says the shortage is a concern, but they’re not panicking just yet.
Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is a cold liquid that turns to a gas. It’s used to push freshly-brewed beer from the production part of the brewery all the way to the tap for beer-drinkers to enjoy.
“To move the liquid around once the beer is fermented, we need to keep it in a CO2 environment so no oxygen gets into the product. Oxygen makes beer stale much quicker, and flat. Nobody likes flat beer or pop,” says Collision Bend Brewmaster Luke Purcell.
Breweries from New Orleans to Massachusetts either can’t get the quality of CO2 they need, or have to pay triple price for it. The problem is one of the nation's largest gas production hubs – the Jackson Dome in Mississippi - where many of the nation’s breweries get their CO2 supply - has recently been found to have elevated levels of other hydrocarbons in its CO2, that do not meet food and beverage standards for use. No CO2 means no bubbles in your brew.
“Flat soda is beyond unpleasant, and the taste will be affected too. It’ll be a weird taste, because of the oxygen and lack of CO2 to prevent it from affecting the beer,” said Purcell.
So far, the shortage hasn’t largely affected breweries in the Cleveland area, but there’s still a little fear bubbling under the surface. Collision Brewmaster Luke Purcell says their CO2 supplier decided to spread its product out a little thinner.
“ They’re trying to be proactive about it. Just filling as-needed, instead of all the way up. Filling up ¾ of the tanks, trying to make sure everybody in their client base doesn’t run out,” said Purcell.
Jackson Dome officials say they are working to address the CO2 processing issues, and helping out areas most affected by the shortage. The company says things should start getting back to normal next month.
3News contacted several local breweries. Many hadn’t even heard of the shortage, and all said they haven’t been affected by it. For now, Northeast Ohio beer-drinkers, you are safe to swig!