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Connecticut breweries facing cutbacks with nationwide carbon dioxide shortage

Carbon dioxide is vital for companies producing beer and carbonated beverages.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Curt Cameron, president of Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, said they are noticing cutbacks. He recently found out they will be getting 70% of their typical allotment of CO2 from their supplier due to a plant failure, but he's hoping they'll be able to make due.

Carbon dioxide is vital for companies producing beer and carbonated beverages. CO2 is what is used to make beer and soda carbonated, or bubbly.

“When we don’t have CO2, we have to shut down operations,” Cameron said.

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Cameron said CO2 is also used for a variety of other functions around the brewery.

“Every single tank gets purged with CO2 so no air touches the beer, the canning lines run on CO2 and so CO2 is used in a lot of aspects throughout the brewery,” he said.

He said they’ve been noticing the shortage over the last year or so.

“We’re told that it’s for a myriad of different reasons. It could be an ethanol plant being shut down where they get a lot of CO2 from. This time, I was reading the letter, it’s because of a plant failure somewhere out in Illinois which our supplier, American Carbonation, gets a large portion of their CO2 from,” Cameron said.

Back East Brewing Company in Bloomfield is also keeping an eye on the CO2 shortage. Co-Founder Tony Karlowicz said they’re under a contract and are doing okay for now.

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“We just got filled up so we’re good for a few weeks. Our supplier has said we’ll be okay so hopefully, we’ll be able to get through this,” he said.

Karlowicz said he has seen the nationwide shortage get worse over the last couple of years and it hasn’t been an easy time for breweries, dealing with everything from pandemic shutdowns to higher supply chain costs, and even a shortage of aluminum.

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“You never know, things, if they get worse before they get better, could be a potential problem, but it’s definitely something we’re very concerned with,” he said.

Cameron is hoping things will get better when the plant is back. He said they’ve looked into replacing CO2 for some of their production, but it would be costly.

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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