Facing aluminum can shortage, Surly unveils solution: 'Cantyhose'

The brewery came up with a creative way to repurpose unused cans.
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Toilet paper shortages. Coin shortages. And now, apparently, aluminum can shortages.

It's a coronavirus-era problem facing the beverage industry, specifically where soda, energy drinks and beer are concerned. But a Twin Cities brewery has come up with an inventive workaround.

Meet "Cantyhose," the nickname for the rather creative solution Surly Brewing Company unveiled over the weekend. 

The company says in a news release that they happened to have "a warehouse full of (unused) cans for brands that changed looks, were overstocked, or retired" — all of which they'll be filling up with beer and covering up with pre-printed sleeves matching what's inside. 

This way, Surly says, they'll be able to use the cans and "send them to market for you to enjoy" despite the aluminum can shortage. 

However, the solution isn't exactly perfect, Surly warns.

"As is the case when jamming human legs into thin fabric sleeves, some cantyhose fit better than others," the release says. 

While "most fit great," some fit "less 'comfortably,'" though "if the worst thing that happens to us in 2021 is an occasional run of less-than-ideal beer cans, we’ll take it every day of the week and twice on Sunday."

In other words, we've all got bigger things to worry about than a less-than-beautiful beer can. 

So how long will Surly fans have to drink out of cans with slapped-on labels?

"Current forecasts say this situation will continue for most of 2021," the release says. "It’s not great, but only start worrying if you see Furious in Ziploc bags."

There's one other caveat; the sleeves apparently can't be recycled, as Surly is asking customers to peel them off before recycling the cans.

As USA Today points out, the can shortage is a result of beer and soda consumption having shifted "from restaurants to homes during the COVID-19 pandemic," driving up demand and straining supply. 

"Aluminum cans are in very tight supply with so many people buying more multi-pack products to consume at home," a Coca-Cola spokesperson told the paper. 

Surly operates breweries in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. 

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