CO2 shortage threatens beer business in another example of the 'United Shortages of America'

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Breweries facing carbon dioxide supply shortages

Owner of Urban South Brewery Jacob Landry joined ‘Fox & Friends First’ to discuss how the shortage is impacting price and the ability to produce product. 

Meet today's new U.S.A. — the United Shortages of America.

There's a teacher shortage. 

An egg shortage. 

A school bus driver shortage. 

A medical dye shortage.

A chip shortage. 

A transformer shortage.

(To name but a few shortages that Americans have been coping with this year.)

Now there's a CO2 shortage. And it's threatening one of America's most beloved consumer sectors: beer.

A crisis in the supply of industrial carbon dioxide has created chaos in the American craft-beer industry, New Orleans brewer Jacob Landry said on "Fox & Friends First" on Wednesday morning.

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"It's pretty concerning," said Landry, the founder and CEO of Urban South Brewery in New Orleans.

Jacob Landry, founder and CEO of Urban South Brewery in New Orleans, discussed the CO2 shortage on Wednesday, August 10, 2022.  (Fox News / Fox News)

"It has created a lot of uncertainty in the midst of all kinds of uncertainty we've had. It's one more headache. It's one more challenge."

The cost of the gas has more than tripled recently, Landry said. He paid 20 cents per pound for his most recent shipment of CO2, after paying just 6 cents per pound for previous shipments. 

Landry cited a long list of other cost increases threatening the craft-beer business, which has been one of the nation’s great small-business success stories over the past 25 years.

MASSACHUSETTS BREWERY FORCED TO CUT JOBS DUE TO C02 SHORTAGE: ‘HUGE THREAT TO OUR BUSINESS’

Can prices climbed 20 percent this year, cardboard prices are up 20 percent and grain prices have skyrocketed as much as 50 percent, he said.

"Carbon dioxide is pretty critical during lots of different stages of the brewing process," said Landry. 

Cellarman Matt Groff works the canning line at Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Mass. A CO2 shortage is forcing Night Shift to cut jobs in 2022.  (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"We need it in order to push beer from tank to tank. We need it in order to package our beer and ensure that oxygen doesn’t get it in it, which will degrade the beer."

The problem stems from one of the nation's largest gas production hubs in Mississippi called the Jackson Dome. 

It's a natural source for CO2, and it's something that many breweries use.

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The gas being pumped from the dome contains elevated levels of hydrocarbons and benzene, the brewer told "Fox & Friends First."

"It’s still high-quality CO2," Landry said. 

"It’s food-grade CO2. But in the beverage industry, we use a higher quality called beverage grade. Those additional contaminants can add some flavors to our beer that we don’t want in our beer — that we try to keep out."

CO2 is crucial to the beer-making process. From fermenting to packaging, it’s used nearly every step of the way.  (Fox News / Fox News)

At least he can get the much-needed gas.

Massachusetts beer maker Night Shift Brewing is cutting jobs and reconfiguring its beer production operations after learning its vendor is reducing CO2 deliveries.

"It has put us in a tough spot. It’s awful," Night Shift founder Michael Oxton recently told FOX Business.

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"It is really a critical time for you to support your local brewery," Landry said on "Fox & Friends First" on Wednesday.

"Buy beer that’s made as close to home as possible."

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