Ball Corp., the largest aluminum beverage can maker in North America, is raising its minimum order five-fold — and it is having a profound effect on small breweries.
The Broomfield, Colorado-based company says the move comes after a spike in demand caused by the pandemic.
To small breweries, it was a clear signal that Ball no longer wants to be in the craft beer business.
The previous minimum order was one truckload, or 200,000 cans, per SKU.
Now, breweries have to order five truckloads, or some 1 million cans, per SKU.
Even for breweries that produce a limited number of lines, that's a lot of cans to have on hand, which leads to another problem.
Ball also said that it will stop providing warehouse space, so even if a client can afford the bulk orders, they'll still need to find a place to store them.
According to Colorado Public Radio, Ball notified hundreds of beverage makers via email in Nov. 2021, and it has left many companies scrambling to find new suppliers.