According to Reuters, the beverage manufacturers have started issuing warnings that the country’s supply of compressed carbon dioxide is now threatened due to a chain of events caused by the coronavirus lockout.
Due to travel restrictions, people are now driving less. In fact, overall demand for fuel has dropped by more than 30% since the start of the pandemic. This, in turn, prompted the ethanol factories to stop producing as much ethanol, which is used as an additive in many fuels in the United States.
This is a problem for consumers of carbonated drinks because a large part of the country’s supply of compressed carbon dioxide – which is used to generate the sparkling of these drinks – comes from the by-product of ethanol production, which produces gaseous carbon dioxide. Ethanol producers bottle the gas and sell it for use in soft drinks.
The gas is also used for processing, packaging and shipping of meat, which is one of the reasons why the country’s meat supply is worryingly threatened by the continued foreclosure.
Some of the country’s largest soft drink producers are likely to be doing well, as they have started to do without dependence on ethanol-generated carbon dioxide in anticipation of the move away from dependence on fossil fuels. However, craft breweries and small businesses are already feeling the pinch, as CO2 prices have already risen by more than 25%.
Bob Pease, CEO of the Brewers Association, told Reuters, “The problem is accelerating. Every day we hear more and more from our members about this. “
According to Reuters, 34 of the 45 ethanol plants in the United States have either reduced or completely eliminated production, and the problem is likely to worsen. If the problem persists, a significant shortage of carbonated drinks may be upon us.