ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Beer without carbon dioxide… Isn’t sellable beer. It provides the carbonation that beer drinkers are used to. But beyond the fizz, CO2 also allows breweries to clear tanks, and run the taps in their tasting rooms. All are critical to their business, which makes the current C02 shortage potentially crippling.

But at least in Rochester, the shortage hasn’t quite hit home. A spokesperson for the Genesee Brewery says they “are not concerned about any impact” at this time, and another local brewery, Swiftwater, is so far weathering any issues.

Paul Leone with the New York State Brewers Association says that most breweries should be able to push through until the end of the year, as long as they keep in communication with their suppliers. But he underscores the potential for devastating consequences for the industry in New York:

“One of the larger breweries in the state called me and (that their) supplier said, ‘I’m not going to get any for a few months, which means I might have to lay off 40 of my staff,'” he said.

That call he says came from a week and a half ago, and he was first notified of this issue about two weeks ago. He says that contamination issues in two major plants in Mississippi and Illinois have been working on a backlog, caused by the COVID shock, driver shortages, scheduled summer maintenance, and contamination issues.

Leone says that he first learned of the issues by taking calls from smaller breweries, and that different breweries have had different issues: some will get supply, some won’t. Leone still urges that breweries keep in contact, and if they have any issues, they can turn to the NYSBA.

“If those folks can’t do it, then you know, we have, we have a list of supporting members at the association, whom we’ve all reached out to,” he said. “We’ve given those names out to the other breweries saying, ‘you know, maybe you need to call these other folks too.'”

Andrew Cook owner of Swiftwater Brewing, a brewery in Rochester nestled on Mt. Hope Avenue. While these issues haven’t hit his place of business — saying his supplier assured him that he will be in good shape — he is still looking ahead.

“I know it’s been an issue of the last couple of summers; more so in 2020 than 2021,” Cook continued. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if this is something we’re still talking about in five or 10 years.”

He says that in the short term, they are putting in the time and work to think of other workarounds. These include making better use of the C02 that naturally comes from the fermentation process, and possibly using nitrogen to push the oxygen from the tanks… But he admits that even with those, pushing the beer from taps without C02.

“That’s the one that I don’t really have a good idea about,” he said. “The even scarier thing is that (this affects) every restaurant or bar has a drop gear system or even a soda system.”

But the good news, Leone says that if New York state breweries can push through the end of this year, the issues should begin to stabilize.