GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Concerns are brewing when it comes to beer in Michigan.

A ‘natural contamination’ issue at the Jackson Dome industrial facility in Jackson, Mississippi, has caused a carbon dioxide production shortage, which could lead to problems in the beer industry. Many wonder how much that could impact Beer City, USA, and the rest of West Michigan.

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is what gives every brew its bubbles but it’s also more than that to beermakers.

“It’s kind of surprising how much it is used in a typical brewery,” said Steven Bertman, who directs Western Michigan University’s Sustainable Brewery program. “It’s used to move things around the brewery. It’s used to exclude oxygen. In particular, when you’re bottling or canning, you want to flush all the oxygen out of those vessels so that as it’s sitting on the shelf, the beer is not slowly degrading as a result.”

According to Bertman, brewers use about 1,000 tons of liquid CO2 every year. But while the Jackson Dome is a natural supplier of carbon dioxide, he explains it is not crucial for the beer industry.

“It’s not the most important CO2 source in the country. It’s mostly things like production of fuel ethanol or production of ammonia fertilizer,” Bertman said.

He added that larger companies like Anheuser-Busch have the systems to recirculate and reuse the CO2 emitted from their operations. Smaller craft breweries might not have the same resources, but Bertman argued the pandemic proved their resilience and that they now have an ample opportunity.

“What this is going to do, I think, is … spur innovation to develop smaller, cheaper systems that are more applicable at a smaller scale,” Bertman said.

Bertman said the main effect deals more with price than supply. If consumers want to open a cold one, it’s possible they might need to open their wallet a little more.

“For the average consumer, that’s how they’re going to see that,” Bertman said.

Texas Corners Brewing and Latitude 42 in metro Kalamazoo both say they do not have any CO2-related shortages or issues with their beer production, as of Thursday. News 8 also reached out to larger breweries, including Bell’s Brewery, who said they cannot comment on the matter.