German breweries are suffering from a lack of carbon dioxide (CO2) as record gas prices prompt the fertiliser industry to reduce production.
Stefan Stretz, who owns a brewery in Nuremberg, discussed the crisis on Tuesday, which pushed many manufacturers to cut production amid risks of bankruptcies.
“We also need CO2 for bottling and we need that to ensure that the beer gets into the bottle or keg with little foam,” Stretz added.
According to him, Carbon dioxide is an important raw material for beer and soft drink production companies, as it is used to add sizzle to soft drinks and to fill beer bottles without frothing the effects of contact with air.
“CO2 is a waste product in fertilizer production, among other things, and fertilizer production was discontinued because it is so extremely energy-intensive. Energy has become very expensive, that’s why people said to stop producing fertilizers. So in this respect, there is no more CO2,” Stretz added.
As only 30-40 per cent of usual CO₂ supplies were available, the price of CO2 has increased multiple times to almost 3,500 euros (3358 dollars) per tonne from less than 100 (95 dollars) per tonne a year ago.
As a result, breweries had to cut off the production of some products such as mineral water and lemonade to continue producing beer.
“For example, we can also do this with mineral water or lemonade production, where a lot of CO2 is consumed and there are already breweries that have stopped producing mineral water or lemonade and are only concentrating on bottling the beer,” said Stretz.
Earlier last week, the head of the country’s brewers’ association said that drinks companies in Germany are cutting production in the face of reduced supplies of CO2.
Germany has been experiencing an energy crisis since Russia cut off its natural gas supplies and announced last month some measures aimed at reducing gas consumption during the upcoming winter, such as lowering the heating temperature in offices and public buildings.