For some people, they’re words that define what might as well be the end of the world: beer shortage.
And it could happen. The beer shortage, that is.
Like seemingly everything, supply chain issues are affecting the beer industry.
But it’s not just the supply chain. A stranger reason is behind what could be a real issue for beer drinkers, bars and liquor stores in Wyoming and across the nation: An extinct volcano in Mississippi.
As it turns out, Jackson Dome — which is inside of the extinct volcano in Mississippi — is a major supplier of carbon dioxide in the United States.
Carbon dioxide is critical for beer. It produces the carbonation in beer, which creates its bubbles and keeps beer from going flat.
The problem is, the carbon dioxide in the extinct volcano has become contaminated. As a result, there is much less carbon dioxide available.
That’s leading to shortages and a hike in beer prices.
Mike Moser, executive director of the Wyoming State Liquor Association, says he hopes the issue is overblown.
“I hope that it’s not the case but just a fear, instead,” Moser told Cowboy State Daily. “But it’s a scientific issue caused by a dead volcano — which sounds kind of weird all by itself.”
It is weird. But, it’s legit.
Some brewers on the East Coast have had to stop production because they can’t get the carbon dioxide.
Here in Wyoming, Moser said it’s not an issue he’s heard about yet.
“We just hope that scientifically they can solve this problem because I can’t imagine a Wyoming without beer,” he said.
Yet Another Shortage
Neither can J.J. Moran, owner of Cheyenne’s popular Four Winds bar.
“We haven’t had a beer shortage yet,” Moran said. “But something like this can slow down an entire industry.”
Beer is a big industry itself in Wyoming. Moser said more than 13 million gallons of beer was imported into Wyoming by Wyoming wholesalers in 2021.
Moran is already worried because of a “huge aluminum shortage.” He said the introduction of new popular beverages like White Claw and others have taken the market by storm and they only come in aluminum cans.
Adding to that is the ever-present supply chain problems.
Moran just returned from southern California and said he saw thousands of containers just waiting to be unloaded.
“You cannot believe all the containers sitting there,” Moran said. “They’re waiting for someone to pick them up to deliver.”
Moran’s advice? Stock up on beer. And then make sure to drink it.
“If you can buy up 100 cases of Coors Light you have to make sure to drink them by the expiration date,” he said. “It will take dedication.”