As it turns out, those breweries that purchased pumpkin last year, or in early 2016 before supplies dwindled, appear to have fared better.
"We were lucky enough to source our pumpkins early enough so we didn't really see the effect of a shortage," said Sam Adams Brewer Megan Parisi. "We hope all of our fellow brewers are able to find the amount they need and can raise a glass of pumpkin beer this fall."
Sam Adams, a brand owned by Boston Beer Company, is releasing a beer this fall called 20 Pounds of Pumpkin."The recipe literally calls for 20 pounds of pumpkin in each barrel," according to Parisi.
Meantime, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale is celebrating its 10th year in 2016 and the company is expecting to produce roughly 10,000 barrels of the pumpkin ale this year. It also bought pumpkin supplies early and didn't have the same sourcing issues as other brewers.
"We buy our pumpkin supply the year before and then have that processed," said James Pendergraft, CEO of the St. Louis-based brewer.
All in all, most industry executives are upbeat about the prospects for this year's pumpkin beer despite the supply scare.
"We didn't find any problem selling it last year and hopefully this year as well," said Hardywood's Nelson.
Nonetheless, Nielsen data show pumpkin-spiced beer sales fell nearly 10 percent in 2015, and in terms of volume, the decline was more than 13 percent. Most pumpkin beers are ales, which is the most popular style within the craft beer segment.
"There are signs that drinkers are experiencing pumpkin fatigue," according to Danelle Kosmal, vice president of Nielsen's Beverage Alcohol Practice.
Seasonal brews are around 18 percent of craft beer sales, and pumpkin-flavored beers are considered about 10 percent of craft sales during the time they are on the shelves in the fall, she estimated.
Watson, the brewers' group economist, said the softness last year also could be due to "an oversupply. I don't think the demand dropped that much; brewer over exuberance kind of overshot the mark."
Correction: This story was revised to correct the second reference to Kosmal as "she."