Purpose Since 2018, the two floods and droughts that struck Kerala's economy have threatened the state's sustainable earthen vessel production. Current studies allocate focus to the pottery industry's techno-social impacts and ethnography of the potter community; hence, there is a gap in understanding consumers, who are responsible for environmentally conscious behaviors, and their switch from earthen vessels to other materials adaptable to modern kitchens. This study aims to bridge gaps in understanding the reasons behind their demand shift and the challenges of earthenware consumption and production after the disasters. Design/methodology/approach This quantitative research explored the perceptions of pottery producers and consumers in Kerala. The sample for the primary survey comprised 590 randomly selected consumers and one master artisan from each of Kerala's total of 44 registered pottery communities. Unpublished records provided the secondary data on production and sales. Findings An upward shift in the demand for earthen vessels after natural calamities is observed. Quality, availability and adaptability are consumer concerns. The Markov chain analysis predicts that future consumption of earthen vessels depends on improved marketing mix strategies. After natural disasters, persistent demand exists for earthen vessels, but sustainable production is challenged due to the deteriorating quality and shortage of clay along with the consequent increase in procurement costs of raw materials. Originality/value As the earthen vessel industry was affected by disasters very recently, this study contributes an immediate exploration of its sustainable production and consumption challenges.