Climate Change Likely to Ding Beer Supply


A new study published on Monday in the journal Nature Plants says that global warming will cause a decrease in barley crops, leading to a shortage of beer and causing a price hike.

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'But there is definitely a cross-cultural appeal to beer, and not having a cool pint at the end of an increasingly common hot day just adds insult to injury'.

The apocalyptic impact of climate change has finally been revealed - the price of beer could soar to a tenner a pint (on top of all the global drought, starvation, rising seas and so on).

Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the world by volume consumed, said researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK.

Only the highest quality grain - less than 20 percent - is used to make beer, with most of the rest used as feedstock.

Even in less severe extreme events, beer consumption drops by 4% and prices rise by 15%. In the worst case, parts of the world where barley is grown - including the northern Great Plains, Canadian prairies, Europe, Australia and the Asian steppe - were projected to experience more frequent concurrent droughts and heat waves, causing declines in crop yields of 3 to 17 per cent.

In recent years, the beer sector consumed around 17% of global barley production, but the share varied drastically across major beer-producing countries - from 83% in Brazil to 9% in Australia.

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"For beer drinkers, this (study) converts an abstract concept. into the more real future price of beer", Ellis said, according to The Guardian.

The researchers said the price surge may deprive hundreds of millions of the drink as climate change worsens.

Co-author Dr Nathan Mueller, also from the University of California at Irvine, said: "Current levels of fossil fuel consumption and CO2 (carbon dioxide) pollution - business as usual - will result in this worst-case scenario, with more weather extremes negatively impacting the world's beer basket".

Saying that the beer industry "certainly understands and is already preparing for shifts in climate", the BA's economist Bart Watson and supply chain expert Chris Swersey write that barley production has always shifted geographically - while production efficiency "continues to grow over time".

In the United Kingdom, beer consumption could fall between 0.37 billion and 1.33 billion litres, while the price could as much as double.

Yet, it is hoped a seemingly more trivial warning may get people to sit up and listen, by hitting us with the most terrifying of word pairings - beer shortage.

Their prediction: During the most severe climate events, global beer consumption would decline on average by 16%, Guan said, while beer prices around the world would, on average, double.