Problems brewing in the beer industry, kegs going stale

Kansas

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Gallons of brewed beer looms in restaurants, event venues, bars, and stadiums, now they’re facing a problem: What to do with all that stale booze?

“March 12th we canceled all of our events that weekend,” said Adam Hartke, Wave owner. “We had all of our 16 taps at Wave tapped and ready to go so all those kegs are you know, unfortunately, expired.”

The average shelf life of beer is around three to six months. Now, many retailers are faced with beer that can’t be sold and trying to determine how to safely dispose of it.

“It can’t just be flushed down the drain because it’s and environmental hazard,” said National Beer Wholesaler Association Chief Economist, Lester Jones.

Jones said beer can be taken to a distillery and turned into a hand-sanitizer, or some places can even turn it into natural gas, but dumping large quantities of beer down the drain can be problematic. Beer can offset waterways PH levels and create unwanted bacteria.

But, that’s not the only problem the industry is facing. They’re struggling to track down all of the expired beer and remove 150-pound kegs. He said many retailers stocked up prior to shutdowns, which means there are large quantities of beer throughout the country.

“We just know at a specific time in March when everything shuttered there was literally well over 10 million gallons of beer that was just frozen and that was the crisis,” said Jones.

While the organization is working with retailers to remove the unused beer, they worry about what the future will look like for the beer industry.

“We’re still kind of in this period of uncertainty, we’re seeing case counts go up, bars and restaurants close down again and all of a sudden we’re back to where we were three months ago,” said Jones.

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