Russia-Ukraine crisis

New Jersey brewery feels Ukraine ripple effect from rising grain prices

Reuters
New Jersey brewery feels Ukraine ripple effect from rising grain prices

WHEAT. A combine harvester loads a truck with wheat in a field near the village of Hrebeni in Kyiv region, Ukraine, July 17, 2020.

Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

'We have to cover our costs because the costs have been pretty significant,' says a craft beer maker in New Jersey

NEW JERSEY, USA – Struggling with the rising cost of grains, aluminum, and fuel due to inflation exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, New Jersey brewery Four City Brewing Company says it will have to raise prices in its taproom soon.

The craft beer maker cans its product in Orange, New Jersey, in a labor-intensive operation, weighing the filled cans by hand as they are packed into boxes.

So far, the company has managed not to raise prices, but that may not last.

“Grain has gone up 18, 20, 25 cents a pound. So when you’re talking about hundreds, maybe a thousand pounds per batch, it’s a lot of money,” said co-owner Anthony Minervino.

Ukraine, among the world’s leading exporters of grain and vegetable oils, has introduced export licenses for wheat and suspended exports of rye, oats, millet, buckwheat, salt, sugar, meat, and livestock since the invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”

“It’s at least going to be $1 to $2 more, probably per pour in the taproom, probably a couple of dollars on each case per keg,” said Roger Apollon Jr., another co-owner.

“Nothing extreme. But we have to cover our costs because the costs have been pretty significant.”

Minervino said the war in Ukraine will likely have a ripple effect, and has been compounded by earlier inflation on everything from the barley – that is a key ingredient in brewing their beer – to aluminum for the cans, shipping, and electricity prices.

The brewery’s biggest margin is in their taproom, which is where they hope to recoup some of their losses.

“If you want to compare prices three months ago to make the can of beer as opposed to today, we have the grain, the aluminum, there’s fuel surcharges, the shipping, and everything, it’s gone up significantly,” said Minervino. – Rappler.com