Bad News, Pumpkin Lovers, Breweries Are Running Low On Pumpkin

It looks like pumpkin beers may be in short supply.

The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2015 has had some lingering effects on this year’s supply. Brewers are discovering that many suppliers are out of pumpkins, which will affect various fall beer offerings, according to Draft magazine.

Nebraska Brewing Company produces Wick For Brains pumpkin beer every year, its most popular seasonal product. However, the brewer’s regular pumpkin supplier was unable to provide the 5,000 pounds of pumpkin puree the beer requires.

"We did end up finding a supplier, but not until after a few years were dropped from my lifespan trying to figure things out," Nebraska Brewing Companys’ president and co-founder Paul Kavulak told Draft Magazine. "We bought enough for maybe the first two batches and then went back to buy more -- being good disciples of Just in Time Inventory -- and were told they were out. We had to brew [Wick For Brains] five times this year, so you can see the panic that set in. My guess is that this is going to be an issue across the board."

Although the shortage is unlikely to affect all breweries nationwide, the Brewers Association’s forum lists posts from brewers searching for other options and alternate suppliers.

Brian Nelson, head brewer at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Virginia, said he attempted to place an order with the company's normal supplier, only to discover they were completely out of pumpkin. Local Virginia farmers, which typically supply about half of the pumpkin needed by the brewery, had also suffered a bad crop this year. Ultimately, Nelson found a supplier in Florida, but not after attempting to contact over half a dozen companies.

"I was able to patch it together this year and I referred this supplier to a couple other Virginia breweries that I’m friends with," Nelson explained. "We’ll be fine this year, but I know there are other small breweries scrambling. And I hear it’s not only in the brewing industry but in the culinary industry as well."