Packaging Outlook

Summer 2020: July 1, 2020

During this season of COVID-19, we are/have been experiencing delays in supply availability across multiple product categories.

While our team is working hard to minimize customer impact and ensure supply can meet demand, the reality is that intermittent delays will continue to occur. Our goal is not to insight panic, but to be honest about how this might impact your operations and what we are doing to help proactively mitigate the risks.

Manufacturers are experiencing exponential increases in global demand from ALL beverage segments and customer sizes. This means that not as much overstock product or flexible capacity is available to purchase from. For some, there is also a reshuffling of priorities resulting in allocated product not being delivered as promised or within original time-frames. The ability to scale certain products to meet the new demand is virtually impossible as demand planning for most (if not all) products and manufacturers is conducted annually.

  • Our response: We are continuously working with our vendors to understand their current operations and adjusting forecasts, demand planning and purchasing as necessary. We are also working to further diversify our supply chain so that in the event a vendor has to temporarily shut down or cancels allocation, an interchangeable product will remain available. Rest assured, we rigorously test compatibility of all products on our mobile canning lines prior to recommending substitutions online and have support staff available to help with any transition.
  • What to expect: Lead times and order increments may vary based on supply availability and manufacturer packaging. All pertinent order information will be clearly communicated online and within each specific product page. Product spec sheets will also become increasingly available to help assist with any transitions.

Increases in demand have created various bottlenecks for many manufacturers and shipping carriers whether it be limitations in production capacity, reduced staff on-site to facilitate timely order fulfillment, or fluctuating driver capacity for 'non-essential' shipments. Product is still being manufactured and shipped but periodic delays are occurring.

  • Our response: We have instituted maximum order quantities to prevent panic purchasing and help steady availability for the quantity of product that is arriving weekly (sometimes daily). We are also proactively communicating product updates, order restrictions and restock ETAs on under the COVID-19 Resource Center.
  • What to expect: Order maximums will remain in effect for the foreseeable future and lead times will fluctuate as bottlenecks come and go. Changes will be communicated online as soon as reliable information is made available. *Updates may not allow much notice as we are often informed last minute of changes in delivery schedules. Please plan for slightly longer lead times across all product categories just to be safe.

Changing state and local regulations continue to impact beverage sales. As we know, conditions can change overnight and each state has different requirements for sales.

  • Our response: We are doing our best to purchase product based on the information available to us and to diversify our product offerings based on the known needs of our craft customers. For example, we now stock 32oz AND 25.4oz Crowler cans and have created an adapter puck to help customers transition between the two. We have also developed new filler/seamer machinery to help lower the barriers to entry for can packaging.
  • What to expect: We will continue to do our part to help navigate these changing scenarios and to adapt as quickly as possible. We can't guarantee availability of any specific product at any given time but we can guarantee we'll do everything we can to help find an acceptable packaging solution.

What are we doing as a whole?

Not all challenges are at the manufacturing level. We ourselves are experiencing exponential growth and are doing everything we can to quickly adapt.

  • We have hired additional staff in almost every department and are better equipped to handle a breadth of customer needs.
  • We have expanded our shipping team to ensure that order fulfillment remains accurate, timely and is packaged with the highest quality.
  • We have added a second shift to our sleeving line to maintain current lead times and continue to deliver product as originally quoted.
  • We have increased our communication to help ensure transparency in all of our operations
  • Most importantly, we are listening.

With COVID-19 extending into normal, peak summer demand, we realize there is a lot going on and that there is still information we need to hear and learn from. Please continue to communicate your needs/concerns with our team and know that we will do everything we can to help find a valuable solution.

We are in this together and appreciate your continued support.