Pumpkin Beers Could Be In Danger This Year

By Mike Pomranz |
pumpkin, shortage, beer

© Joseph Broderick / EyeEm/Getty Images

Though Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes get most of the credit for launching the “let’s pumpkinize the world starting in August” craze, pumpkin beers are actually the OGs when it comes to pumpkin-enhanced beverages. Unlike lattes, our forefathers were whipping up pumpkin beers back in the colonial days. Maybe that’s why our forefathers were more badass than we are?

That long history of using pumpkins in beer makes it even sadder to learn that some brewers are struggling to source the circular orange squashes to make this year’s pumpkin fall seasonal brews. According to Eater, last year’s severe crop shortage led many suppliers to burn through their reserves to keep canned pumpkin puree on the shelves. That turned a lack of pumpkins into 2016’s problem as well, and now, according to Draft Magazine, some brewers have been feeling the pinch.

Nebraska Brewing Company, for instance, told Draft that their supplier had to renege on their agreement to supply 5,000 pounds of puree for the brand’s Wick For Brains pumpkin seasonal. “We did end up finding a supplier, but not until after a few years were dropped from my lifespan trying to figure things out,” Nebraska president and co-founder Paul Kavulak was quoted as saying. “My guess is that this is going to be an issue across the board.” Brian Nelson, head brewer of Hardywood Park, had a similar story: “I was able to patch it together,” Nelson told Draft. “We’ll be fine this year, but I know there are other small breweries scrambling.”

Related: EVERY BEER STYLE YOU NEED TO KNOW

The good news is that Draft predicts that, as with most highly-hyped “shortages,” the problem will probably be felt more on the production side than the consumer side. And even if pumpkin beers are harder to find in 2016, I wouldn’t call it the end of the world. Though pumpkins supplies may be dwindling, I think most craft drinkers built up a huge stockpile of pumpkin beers in their stomachs over the past decade – to the point where if no one drinks one for a year or two to come, we’ll all survive.

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