‘We won’t have any beer at all’: Garage Project has run out of CO2 at one location

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Photo: Unsplash / Josh Olalde

One of the nation’s largest craft breweries has run out of carbon dioxide and has more than 60,000 gallons of unfinished beer waiting to be carbonated.

The last of the country’s two food-safe CO2 plants, the Todd Energy Kāpuni plant, shut down three weeks ago over safety concerns, leaving the industry with shortages and skyrocketing import costs.

Wellington-based Garage Project announced today that the brewery is officially zero CO2 at one of its sites.

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Jos Ruffell, co-founder of Garage Project, said the company only had a “few weeks of stock from the core range” left.

“It’s been a busy one year time for us, and once that’s over we’re going to be out of beer altogether… but you know, we’re hoping to get a delivery of CO2 in the next two weeks. I don’t know really when it can happen,” Ruffell said.

The problem was urgent among brewers across the country at this time, he said.

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“We certainly had a better start to the year, we have been dealing with a CO2 shortage for more than six months now, but it has become very acute in recent weeks. With the Kāpuni factory shut down, we are not receiving any bulk CO2 deliveries.”

Tweaks to Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority funding could help breweries afford expensive carbon capture technology for their breweries.

The authority, which was set up to help reduce carbon emissions, turned down Garage Project’s funding application, which Ruffell said was largely because the area in the industry was outside the scope of the authority’s mandate.

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Beer production naturally produces CO2 during the fermentation process, and technologies exist to capture that natural gas for carbonizing beer down the line.

Garage Project has invested in one for its Aro St brewery, at a cost of $250,000, but freight problems from the US have delayed that arrival, Ruffell said.