Arts, Culture & Media

Beer ingredients in high demand

Beer is very popular in the US. there's a lot of eccentric options here. This may be the ultimate in specialty brewing but all brewers are staring at a crisis, because a global shortage of hops and barley have sent the entire beer world scrambling. Brewers are having a hard time securing supplies. The price of barley has doubled and hops quadrupled. Those prices combined with the weak dollar and more expensive gas prices have caused the beer world to react with fear, panic and palpitations, according to this beer consultant, who also says global demand for beer is also growing because of growing middle classes in China and Russia and India, for example. As demand increases, supply is falling. Droughts and erratic weather have hit hops and barley crops hard and both those crops are particularly sensitive to climate change. Staple foods and beer have long had an intimate relationship and now the brewers are competing against growers of corn and rape seed or feed for animals. The only thing that will keep hops and barley on the farm is the potential that brewers will pay more for them. This analyst says this could be the end for cheap beer. Some analysts say increased demand could mean a rise in quality of beer but when $10 six-packs hit the stores, nobody's going to be happy.