The production of beer and soft drinks could be disrupted in the near future due to an increasing shortage of carbon dioxide, industry leaders warn.
That’s because a major source of carbon dioxide in the United States comes from the production of ethanol as an additive to gasoline.
But the demand for gasoline has significantly deceased as millions of Americans stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to making beer and soda fizz, CO2 is used in the processing, packaging, preservation, and shipping of many foods.
CO2 is also used in various aspects of the healthcare industry and an important component in many municipal water treatment systems.
Beer, meat, and compressed gas industry representatives sent a joint letter to Vice President Pence on April 7 requesting government intervention to alleviate the shortage.
“Preliminary data show that production of CO2 has decreased by approximately 20%, and experts predict that CO2 production may be reduced by 50% by mid-April unless action is taken to stabilize existing sources of CO2,” the letter warns.
“A shortage in CO2 would impact the U.S. availability of fresh food, preserved food and beverages, including beer production … Without stable sources of CO2 across the nation, these food and beverage manufacturers will be unable to operate at capacity, leading to shortages for Americans of the important goods they depend on, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.”