WINNIPEG -- Anyone who has been to the grocery store lately might have noticed some of their favorite canned drinks are only available in bottles or not at all, a shortage that may be due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s probably been about a good month and half, two months now that we’ve noticed various flavors not available,” said Munther Zeid, general manager at Food Fare.

But, it’s not just pop cans.

Luke Chapman, the interim president for Beer Canada, said the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way Canadians consume beer.

He noted bars and tap rooms normally represent 20 to 25 per cent of total Canadian beer sales, but with the pandemic those sales are down, which has increased the demand for packaging materials such as cans and bottles.

“Based on what we have heard from both brewers and manufacturers, we are not at the crisis level yet but we have heard from some brewers that they are facing challenges sourcing aluminum cans,” Chapman said. 

David Kaisaris, who owns the Riverside Beer Store, said the supply of canned beverages has been impacted by more than just the pandemic.

“It’s been a particularly difficult spring and summer because first we had COVID, then we had where our major supplier had a malware problem where they had to build, rebuild their whole SAP system over again,” he said. 

Moosehead Breweries is also feeling the impact -- sending CTV News this statement: “We can confirm that we are seeing pressure on our can supply due to supplier production limitations, as well as increased demand from consumers for cans, both of which are adding to existing supply chain challenges resulting from COVID-19. We are actively working with all of our suppliers to minimize stock issues and impacts on our production.” 

Chapman said the United States is experiencing the same market changes as Canada.

“So there’s been an increase in the demand for aluminum cans down there as well,” he said. 

“It has resulted in certain brewers having to explore some further international markets to make up for the loss of supply.” 

Zeid said he hopes there will be more product soon.

“We were told that there was a shortage at the beginning and that the U.S. was not allowing the export of aluminum tins and there’s a bit of shortage here and they’re trying to find another source,” he said. 

CTV News has reached out to the Can Manufacturers Institute and the National Trade Association of Metal Can Manufacturing in the U.S. for comment.