PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some bad news for beer drinkers everywhere.
Beer prices are expected to skyrocket as extreme droughts and heat become more frequent, thanks to the growing threat of climate change, according to a Nature.com study.
“It’s bad news,” said one beer lover.
Stocks of barley, the main ingredient in beer, decline drastically during droughts and excessive heat.
“Barley grows well with supplemental irrigation in cool, dry areas,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture. “It can be grown in a hot climate, but is more susceptible to diseases and pathogens in a hot, humid climate. Barley crops are not typically grown in the humid regions of the southeastern United States.”
The study took a wide range of future climate scenarios and examined a combination of a process-based crop model and a global economic model to determine the climate’s impact on barley and beer.
The study found the average yield losses of barley range from 3 percent to 17 percent worldwide, depending on the severity of the climate change.
“Decreases in the global supply of barley lead to proportionally larger decreases in barley used to make beer and ultimately result in dramatic regional decreases in beer consumption and increases in beer prices,” the study found.
For example, one extreme found that beer prices in Ireland would rise by 193 percent.
“If beer went up 200% in price, I’d probably boycott gas and everything else in order to buy beer,” added another beer enthusiast.
Mike Contreras, the co-founder of 2SP Brewing Company out of Aston, says the increase in Barley prices could put smaller breweries out of business.
“We’re really keeing in tune with barley prices and hops prices, and if anything spikes up it really can affect our bottom line,” said Contreras.
Fortunately, Contreras says other costs are going down, like the steel used in the brew tanks.
“Back 5-10 years ago, we were paying premium dollar because India and China were using so much metal, now those economies have flattened,” said Contreras.
Last week, the United Nations released a gloomy report detailing the dire threats of climate change in the not-so-distant future.
However, the report noted that if severe and immediate action is taken, there may still be time to save the Earth — and the beer.