Wyden Raises Concerns About Changes That Will Hurt Small Brewers in Oregon and Nationwide
Oregon US Senator Ron Wyden 
Senate Finance Committee Chair: “At a time when small businesses are already struggling under the weight of ongoing economic upheaval due to COVID-19 and related supply chain challenges, I am concerned that these new policies, and the short lead time for their implementation, will create new obstacles to the ability of America’s small brewers to deliver high-quality products to store shelves”
Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today asked the Ball Corp. to postpone recent action it’s taken that will hurt small brewers in Oregon and nationwide who order printed beer cans from the company starting in the new year.
Wyden noted that his concerns follow Ball’s notification last month to its existing non-contracted customer base that, effective January 1, 2022, it will quintuple the minimum number of printed beer cans – from 200,000 to 1 million cans — that non-contracted brewers must order at one time. Wyden said that fivefold increase in required volume cannot be accommodated. And he also wrote in his letter about small brewers’ concerns over Ball’s announcement that it will no longer warehouse inventory for small brewers, saying the alternative for small brewers of using third-party distributors for warehousing and labeling services will increase costs and may require the use of shrink-sleeve labels that are less recyclable and less popular among consumers.
“Small brewers in Oregon and every state play a critical role in creating vibrant local economies, providing over 400,000 good-paying jobs nationwide, positively impacting local economies through their downstream effects on tourism, manufacturing, and hospitality, and serving as important partners to our farmers and agricultural producers,” wrote Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “At a time when small businesses are already struggling under the weight of ongoing economic upheaval due to COVID-19 and related supply chain challenges, I am concerned that these new policies, and the short lead time for their implementation, will create new obstacles to the ability of America’s small brewers to deliver high-quality products to store shelves.”
“I want to work together to formulate long-term solutions and ensure that small brewers in Oregon can continue to provide good-paying jobs to our communities and high-quality products to consumers while doing it,” Wyden wrote to Ball Corp. CEO John Hayes and Ball Corp. President Dan Fisher. “Abruptly implementing this proposed policy change could harm your customers and undermine our efforts to facilitate small brewers’ contributions to the American economy. For this reason, I urge you to immediately postpone implementation of these policies, and to instead work with small brewers and other stakeholders to craft mutually beneficial policies for Ball’s non-contracted customer base.”
The entire letter is here .