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New Jersey brewery feels Ukraine ripple effect from rising grain prices – Metro US

New Jersey brewery feels Ukraine ripple effect from rising grain prices

FILE PHOTO: A combine harvester loads a truck with wheat
FILE PHOTO: A combine harvester loads a truck with wheat in a field in Kyiv region

CITY OF ORANGE, N.J. (Reuters) – 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.

(Reporting by Hussein Waaile; Writing by Roselle Chen; Editing by Karishma Singh and Aurora Ellis)

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