CO2 shortage’s impact on beer

Beer and cider drinkers who love something fizzy may soon find themselves without a beverage due to the reported shortage of CO2, a result of European ammonia factory closures and bio-ethanol factory maintenance activities.  The food industry is also affected because it has many applications for CO2, not least of which is to slow down deterioration caused by exposure to air.

However, it may be good news for sales of low-carbonation or naturally conditioned beers and ciders.

CO2 is not only used to carbonate beers (and ciders), but it is essential for using conventional kegs in a pub or bar’s draught beer system: CO2 forces beer out of the keg and eliminates any exposure to gases that will quickly cause the beer to go ‘off’.

The shortage, therefore, also highlights a major disadvantage of conventional kegs that require CO2.  If any other cheaper or more widely-available gas were used to dispense the beer (or other pressurised gas beverage) without risk of beer spoilage, it would negate the need for CO2.  Drinks manufacturers throughout the world recognise this benefit and use alternative packaging, such as the ubiquitous KeyKeg, which is a lightweight, environmentally-conscious alternative to a conventional keg.