Westfield brewery adjusting production due to carbon dioxide shortage

We’re learning about an issue that could affect beer supplies.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 12:49 PM EDT
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WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - We’re learning about an issue that could affect beer supplies. A nationwide shortage of carbon dioxide, a gas critical to the brewing process, is causing concern for breweries across the Bay State.

Carbon dioxide tanks are a key part of beer production at Great Awakening Brewery in Westfield, like others around the country, but one of the nation’s largest producers of CO2 is experiencing a shortage and that has breweries concerned in Massachusetts.

“I heard about it about three to four weeks ago…Honestly, wasn’t that concerned about it because we are not a huge brewery, so we don’t consume that much CO2, but when I heard that Night Shift Brewing was shutting down its Everett location because they couldn’t get CO2, that’s when I started to worry,” said Mark Netzer, co-owner and head brewer at Great Awakening Brewery.

Breweries like Great Awakening are now considering the use of nitrogen in the production process to salvage carbon dioxide.

“…But in almost every brewery, you absolutely need CO2 for a few processes and without it, things would change a lot. We could make it, but it would change the final product substantially,” Netzer added.

Netzer told Western Mass News how this could impact beer supplies.

“The switch from carbonating beers with CO2 to naturally carbonating them, which takes weeks, possibly months depending on what type of beer it is. Production would slow down a lot and with some styles, it would definitely affect the flavor,” Netzer explained.

Netzer told us in preparation for a switch to natural carbonation, they have purchased more equipment to do so, but he feels confident they’ll be able to keep production going.

“We will shift to naturally carbonated beers and we have a huge variety of beers here at Great Awakening, so I think that will help us ride out the wave…We can make it work. Do I want to? No, but if push comes to shove, we are prepared to make the changes to keep production going,” Netzer noted.