Bad News, Beer Lovers « The Washington Independent
Bad news for beer lovers and brewers. Climate change is likely to drive beer prices up even further over the next 30 years, according to New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Climate scientist Jim Salinger said today that shifting climates will likely cause a decline in the production of malting barley, especially in New Zealand and Australia. This means beer production could take a serious hit as land gets drier and water supplies decrease. Breweries can adapt by switching to different malt varieties.
They have already been forced to adapt as they find themselves in the middle of a pretty bad hops shortage. A low yield crop year and increased demand for beer in high-population areas has driven the price of hops way up. Some small producers have already gone out of business, while others have tried new recipes that don’t require hops. Climate change may already be causing these problems, though. For example, some blame both European floods — that lowered yields of hops — and an Australian drought — that cut the country’s barley production in half — on global warming.
The news comes a day after the 75th anniversary of beer’s legalization after prohibition’s end.