First toilet paper, now beer cans: Consumers encounter new shortages due to COVID-19

First toilet paper, now beer cans: Consumers encounter new shortages due to COVID-19

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A COVID-19 induced shortage of cans and canning supplies is putting the squeeze on gardeners and beer drinkers alike.

Garden Girl Foods owner Whitney Powers has struggled to find ways to save all the food she harvested this year and she feels like one of the lucky ones.

“Most people are not finding jars at all,” Powers said. “I planted my garden because, just like everybody else, it was COVID and I was bored.”

When the home garden crops came in, canning supplies vanished. An unexpected change in consumer habits sent jars, and especially lids, for canning into short supply.

“The Scotts organization estimates there were 20 million new gardeners in the United States,” Brownsboro Hardware Owner Jim Lehrer said.

In the housewares section of Lehrer’s store, shelves where jars and lids are supposed to be have been empty for months.

“Normally this would be filled with pints, half-pint jars, lids and rings would all be right in here,” Lehrer said. “Unfortunately, that’s been empty since June.”

A similar spike in demand for comfort drinks has also disrupted supplies of aluminum cans. As a result, small operations like Louisville craft brewers Against the Grain have to fight for supplies.

“The shortage of cans is something we’ve tried to get ahead of,” Against the Grain co-founder Adam Watson said, “So we have been having discussions with our can supplier for a good long while.”

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, industry observers expect the disruptions to continue until late next year.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.


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