Dr. Pepper shortage during coronavirus steals fizz from fans

Keurig Dr. Pepper says increased sales are to blame

It's enough to leave even Lil' Sweet, the ad jingle-singer who promotes one of Dr. Pepper's namesake drinks, with a sour taste in his mouth: The carbonated beverage has become the latest casualty of coronavirus-related product shortages.

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In a Monday statement released on all of its social media platforms, the brand reassured loyal consumers that it's "working on" restocking shelves with all flavors of the soda, instructing them to "hang tight!"

"We're doing everything we can to get it back into your hands," promised the drinkmaker, controlled by Keurig Dr. Pepper, the conglomerate behind Keurig coffee brewers and soft drinks from Nehi to 7 UP. "That means working with our distribution partners to keep shelves stocked nationwide, while ensuring the safety of our employees."

KEURIG DR PEPPER REVENUE GROWS ON HIGHER COFFEE, BEVERAGE SALES

According to a Tuesday CNN report, the low inventory was the result of increased demand for the beverage as Keurig Dr. Pepper notes sales have "increased consistently over the last four years."

At the end of July, the Massachusetts-based company reported that packaged-beverage sales grew 6.2% to $1.39 billion in the second quarter, partially driven by new products under the Canada Dry and Dr. Pepper brands.

At the same time, demand for aluminum cans has grown. Although the material used for aluminum-can production reportedly is not in short supply, the industry was not ready to meet the increasing demand.

While breweries have turned to the use of cans more and more over the past decade -- with beer sold in cans accounting for 50% of all beer sold in 2010 and 60% in 2019 according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association -- another factor is the introduction of alcoholic sparkling seltzers like White Claw.

In a statement to USA TODAY last week, the Aluminum Association reported that the beverage can manufacturing industry has seen an "unprecedented demand" for cans "prior to and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic."

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"Beverages in convenient take-home packages like aluminum cans are particularly popular right now, and beverage company employees are doing all they can to make sure store shelves remain fully stocked," the American Beverage Association told CNN.

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Although it's not yet clear whether other soda brands would be impacted in similar ways, Coca-Cola also declined to comment.

TRUMP REIMPOSES 10% TARIFFS ON CANADIAN ALUMINUM

If the can shortage doesn't drive raw material prices up for soft-drink makers, and maybe consumers, tariffs that President Trump recently tacked onto aluminum imported from Canada might.

Canada, which negotiated with Trump to overhaul the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, has already promised to retaliate in kind.