Price of a pint could rise as CO2 shortage hits brewers and bar owners

Brewers say the price of a pint could be about to rise, with a shortage of carbon dioxide biting both them and bar owners.

CO2 is integral to beer production, used in tap rooms to push it through the pipes, and in breweries to carbonate it to the desired level of fizziness.

It means brewers who also run bars, were being hit twice by the shortage.

Wellington's Abandoned Brewery head brewer Charlotte Feehan said it was looking at between 40 and 50 percent increases in CO2, "if we can even get it".

Fortune Favours founder and chief executive Shannon Thorpe said in the short term they've absorbed the rising costs.

"But if it continues like this then we will have to [...] reflect that in our price points."

The issue came about from Aotearoa's only food-grade CO2 plant, Kāpuni, temporarily being closed because of a fault.

The plant's owner, Todd Energy, said the fault has now been found - and liquid CO2 production was expected to restart within weeks, but it would take months to reach full capacity.

The vulnerability of having only one supplier was concerning, Thorpe said.

Carbon capture technology was available, allowing carbon dioxide produced by the brewing process to be caught, stored and used again later.

But Feehan said for many smaller breweries it wouldn't be an option as the scale of their operation is too small.

Even if they could find the technology "it's still prohibitively expensive", she said.

Adding to the problems for brewers, the cost of ingredients like grain, and transport were also up. 

Feehan didn't think it was possible for beer prices to remain the same.

But in a twist of good news for brewers, most customers approached by RNZ in Wellington said they'd pay more for their craft beer if they have to.