The Brewers Association continues to engage where possible on brewery supply chain issues. Over the past few months, can issues have been a top concern for staff. In late 2021, the association provided an update on Ball Corporation’s new order quantity and warehousing policies. This was followed by an update in early January on Ball’s postponement of these changes. Since then, we have continued our dialogue with Ball and learned more about this postponement and are sharing what we have learned with the members.
The first clarification is that we have learned that this extension only applies to Ball’s “terms customers” who received Ball’s communication in mid-November. Ball said “cash-advance customers” who were told they could no longer place orders in October will still not be able to place orders. The differences between these customer tiers were new information to Brewers Association staff, otherwise they would have been communicated in the early January update.
The Brewers Association has also learned that Ball is still in the process of communicating these changes to customers individually, although they expect to be finished with this process by January 14, 2022. All brewers who are Term customers with Ball haven’t heard of Ball yet. , and who wish to place additional orders before the minimum order quantities increase, should contact their sales representative directly. We will continue to advocate for as much transparency of information in this process as possible.
In response to other questions we received from members, we learned the following:
- The March date is an extension of the January 1 order date. Ball will attempt to fill launch orders placed on that date and production of those orders will continue through March. Production is still dependent on the ability of individual Ball facilities to supply an order based on existing inventory and orders, so the ability to place an order does not guarantee production.
- Warehousing policies will look like they used to, but the deadline is now extended to March 1, 2022. Inventory held at this point will be held for up to six months, then fees will accrue.
- Customers without contractual terms can still purchase directly from Ball after March 1, assuming they meet the minimum order quantity of five truckloads and can take delivery immediately. This is always subject to availability and supply constraints. The brokers Ball named have contracted the volume and can therefore provide a safety net for brewers whose orders cannot be produced.
Going forward, the Brewers Association will continue to work to provide as much transparency as possible about supply chain changes, as well as working – where possible – with suppliers and decision makers to ensure that small brewers have access to vital inputs for their business. We plan to maintain an ongoing dialogue with Ball in the hope that greater supply availability can be opened up to more small brewers, regardless of contract status or terms. We will also work to educate policy makers on the challenges of small brewers and the variations between availability based on factors such as size, contract status or terms. If you have any other stories or questions, please feel free to share them with the Brewers Association staff. The main points of contact on supply chain issues are Bart Watson and Chuck Skypeck.