Oct 16 , 2021
You’ve been navigating supply chain hiccups for more than a year now. The continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are felt in every facet of life and business, including the brewing industry supply chain. But, you may be pleasantly surprised to know how and why Steel City Tap Co. carries on as usual while other tap handle manufacturers are scrambling.
From hops and yeast to cans and bottles, limited brewing supplies and delayed shipping times have put a damper on bottom lines. Tap handles, essential to your sales and marketing strategies, are held up in Chinese factories or sitting on ships off the U.S. coast—only if you didn’t order them from Steel City Tap Co., of course.
From day one, we’ve taken a lot of pride in being an American manufacturer. Now, more than ever, our sourcing of production supplies from U.S. companies is making all the difference: American-made products don’t get stuck in cargo ships. Our wood, resin, hardware, machines, and so much more that we use to bring your custom and semi-custom tap handles to life are made in the U.S.A.
Check out our Q&A below to learn how independent breweries, distilleries, and others in the craft beverage industry are being impacted by the global supply chain chaos of 2021. Plus, find out how Steel City Tap Co. can help you avoid the nightmare of waiting on tap handles.
What is this supply chain disturbance doing to the beer industry?
Whether it’s ingredients for new brews or branded swag for the taproom, it’s possible that you depend upon the normal flow of production from Chinese or other overseas manufacturers to run your business.
Thousands of cargo ships unable to off-load due to pandemic-related port restrictions puts a major hitch in your giddyup. You lose sales because you can’t meet demand or you don’t have any tap handles to give your distributor.
As American companies, we’ve come to depend on a global supply chain to sustain us, often choosing cheap over made in U.S.A. In 2021, this means key players in the beer industry–from small-town breweries to national beverage distributors–suffer when container ships are floating in limbo off every U.S. coastline.
In what ways are those unloaded cargo ships NOT affecting Steel City Tap Co. and companies committed to sourcing locally?
Unlike many tap handle manufacturers, we don’t rely on markets outside the U.S. to supply us with our raw materials for making custom tap handles and printed products in house. This means no waiting in line to get the goods we need to make goods for you.
Our wood, metal, resin and plastics all come from American companies like us. We strive to live up to made-in-America standards so we can confidently sell you products with the same high standards.
While pricing increases, occasional delays, and more can cause headaches, we stand by the products we manufacture and deliver as we turn the corner into this new norm. We expect things to turn around quicker and the lights to stay on for us because we will have first and fast access to products when they become available again here on American soil.
For you as craft brewers, distillers, and beverage distributors, this becomes increasingly important. Why?
Because product placement is king, and your beer, seltzer, and hard cider on draft make you money. Flowing beer on tap is the highest profit margin you can acquire when it comes to sales in the beer industry. So, we push ourselves to not only be fast but precise with our handcrafted tap handles and other custom products.
Downtime and long waiting equals no money in your pockets. We understand that your return on investment needs to happen quickly, so you can get back to what you do best… brewing beer.
How does the supply chain hold-up affect turnaround times for tap handle manufacturing?
Currently, American-made products are in such high demand that we are waiting for production to catch up to the increased demand–primarily when it comes to sourcing metal. The increased demand has also affected our wood supply, since we don’t know the cut or the quality of the wood products, we get what we get. The demand for U.S. resin has also increased, so we’ve had to account for longer wait times when sourcing resin for custom tap handles, too.
Why should brewers and distillers do their homework about where their products, ingredients, and supplies are coming from?
We believe that distillers and brewers should do their homework and ask hard questions, because they may be in the dark about getting the switch.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses that claim to be all-American companies do not source production materials or make products in the U.S. Many companies set up shop in the U.S.A and outsource their products and raw materials. Sometimes these products arrive at your front door with a decal bearing the ugly truth of their origin. Don’t hesitate to ask questions before placing an order from any company.
Money you spend overseas stays overseas; money you spend in the U.S. supports our American economy. Now and always, that is very important. Why? Investing in the U.S. economy and hard-working people in this country directly contributes to the growth of our homeland resources.
Imagine brewing your craft beverage overseas… You wouldn't have American employees who can test your products on the spot. Your beer would just show up one day, and you get what you get. No regulations, no quality control, no personal stamp of approval.
How does Steel City Tap support American-based companies for production and beyond?
We do our research before purchasing raw materials from our resin suppliers, wood suppliers, and metal suppliers. We use a local laser cutting company that has supported us for more than three years to cut our metal parts. Our ferrules are created by our neighbor the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which supports our local economy. Even our shipping supplies are sourced from companies who make cardboard boxes here in Alabama.
Give us a shout if you have more questions about Steel City Tap Co.’s unwavering commitment to sourcing American supplies and supporting U.S. companies.