AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Monday, the Dr. Pepper Twitter feed caused a national outcry as the company announced their products are currently harder to find on the shelves. They’re the latest major soda brand, after Coca-Cola and Pepsi, to announce a shortage during the pandemic. Beer and alcohol production has also been slowed. Why?
The nation is running low on aluminum cans.
According to the Aluminum Association, a group that represents the industry, manufacturers are seeing “unprecedented demand” because of the pandemic.
Most aluminum cans are produced in the United States, according to MadeHow.com. The raw materials for the metal are imported from Jamaica and Guinea, but about 25% of the aluminum used in cans comes from recycling. A lot of recycling happens oversees.
While getting raw materials contributes to the shortage, manufacturers say they just can’t keep up with the high demand.
In March, Americans began stockpiling canned goods, which further reduced the supply. Plus, many Americans transitioned from drinking beer out of a tap in a bar or a restaurant to drinking at home, according to CNN. A representative with Molson Coors told USA Today they literally had to “scour the world” to find aluminum cans.
To adjust for the increased demand, Ball Corp, the largest can manufacturer in the U.S., plans to open two new plants in 2021. They started the expansion as the popularity of hard seltzers, like White Claw, grew across the country.
Until then, you’ll still be able to to find your favorite soda in a plastic or glass bottle, but many companies are scaling back. Production itself hasn’t slowed, the soda companies say, but they’re reducing the varieties available. Instead the companies will focus on their flagship and high-selling brands.
Coca-Cola has scaled back production of Caffeine-free Coke, Cherry Coke, Coke Zero and Fresca. Dr. Pepper just launched a new flavor, Dr. Pepper and Cream Soda, which will also be scaled back.
Dr. Pepper was founded in 1885 in Waco, Texas by a pharmacist. It’s the oldest major soft drink brand in the country. Charles Alderton, the creator of the drink, named it after the father of a girl he was in love with, according to the company’s website. Their corporate offices are currently based in Plano, Texas.