Garage Project runs out of CO2 at one site, soon fears it'll be 'completely out of beer'

One of the country's largest craft breweries has run out of carbon dioxide and has more than 60,000 litres of unfinished beer waiting for carbonation.

The country's last of two food-grade CO2 plants, the Todd Energy Kāpuni plant, shut down three weeks ago amid safety problems, leaving the industry at a head with shortages and skyrocketing importing costs.

Wellington-based Garage Project announced today its brewery had officially run out of CO2 at one of its sites.

Garage Project co-founder Jos Ruffell said the company only had a "few weeks of core-range stock" up its sleeves.

"It's a busy time of a year for us then once that goes, we'll be completely out of beer ... but you know, we're hoping that we get a delivery of CO2 in the next week or two we just don't really know when it might happen," Ruffell said.

The issue was pressing among brewers right now across the country, he said.

"We've definitely had better starts to the year, we've been facing a CO2 shortage for over six months now but it's gotten very acute in the last few weeks. With the Kāpuni plant down, we aren't receiving bulk CO2 deliveries."

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

The authority, which was set up to help carbon emission reductions, declined Garage Project's application for funding, which Ruffell said was largely because its area in the industry was out of the scope of the authority's mandate.

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

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