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Editorial Dept.'s picture

Climate Change Could Cause Beer Shortage and Increased Prices According to New Study

Climate Change Could Cause Beer Shortage and Doubled Prices According to New Study

If you're reading this story, you probably love beer. According to a study released on Monday in the journal Nature Plants, climate change might bring about seismic changes to the beer world due to one of beer's main ingredients, barley, being heavily affected by extreme drought and heat.

The study is by a team of researchers from China, the U.K. and the U.S. and their findings were alarming. The team projected drought and heat trends for upcoming decades and found that rising global temperatures brought on by climate change might deeply affect barley production in some countries -- causing beer shortages and inflated prices.

According to a Tweet from Steven J. Davis, one of the researchers named in the report, "Under higher-warming climate scenarios, we find 100-year drought and heat events occur every three years, decreasing barley yields by an average 17 percent in those years, and increasing the price of a 6-pack in the U.S. by $1-8."

With prices for popular craft beers already on the rise from the most highly sought after breweries, a price increase of that magnitude would affect brewers and consumers alike in unexpected ways. 

Climate change is an extremely important issue for the future of our planet, so the consumption of beer might seem like a frivolous aspect of this substantive concern. The Nature Plants study sums it up well in its abstract, "Although not the most concerning impact of future climate change, climate-related weather extremes may threaten the availability and economic accessibility of the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world by volume consumed."

Researcher Steven J. Davis, for his part, has appreciated the attention this report has received due to the beloved nature of beer worldwide, according to a recent Tweet: 

The full study in Nature Plants can be found here. 


lloydadams's picture
A warming climate is likely a double edged sword. That is to say that places which have been too cold to grow barley might, just might, be able to do so in a warmer environment. ("Might" seems to be the operative word in the article above.)