Breweries in New Zealand are facing a rationed supply of CO2 after the closure of the country's only food-grade CO2 production facility. Industrial gases manucturer BOC, a member of The Linde Group, said in an email to Reuters that it is prioritizing the supply of CO2 to critical medical, security and water customers and is rationing supplies to its customers accordingly.
The gas which is used in breweries to fill the product in cans, bottles and kegs, to purge fermenters, move beer from vessel to vessel, and to carbonate it “is critical to the production of beer," said Garage Project co-founder Jos Ruffell back in October when the first shortages of CO2 paralyzed the industry in New Zealand. At times, the independent brewery based in Aro Valley, Wellington, was only working at 50 percent capacity and was unable to pack any beer for weeks.
"This is an absolute nightmare," confirms Steve Kermode, managing director of contract craft beer brewing company Steam Brewing located in Ōtāhuhu, Auckland. The company has also had to temporarily halt production and faces rising costs for imported CO2 that it has been unable to pass on to customers.
The rationing follows the closure of two CO2 production plants in New Zealand.
After the closure of the Marsden Point refinery in late March last year, Todd Energy was the only remaining domestic source of food-grade liquid and other CO2. However, this facility also had to be temporarily closed after a safety issue arose at the facility.
"The safe operation of the plant is our priority. Unfortunately, that means the plant is temporarily closed while we work through engineering solutions," Todd Energy chief executive Mark Macfarlane told Reuters.