03/12/2018 – News / Beverages / Sustainability / Climate Change /  Beer / Lager / Barley

Climate change will make your beer more expensive

The world’s most popular alcoholic beverage by volume consumed could become a whole lot more expensive thanks to climate change, predicts a new scientific study.

“Although the frequency and severity of drought and heat extremes increase substantially in a range of future climate scenarios by five Earth System Models, the vulnerability of beer supply to such extremes has never been assessed,” noted the new paper, published in ‘Nature’. 

 

Beer’s main ingredient, barley, is highly susceptible to extreme drought and heat. And the scientists predicted yield losses between 3 and 17 per cent during extreme event years, when compared to average yields from 1981-2010. 

 

This could increase beer prices and reduce consumption – and significantly so, they predict. During the most severe climate events, the scientists found that beer consumption would decline by 16 per cent globally – equivalent to the annual US consumption figures for beer – with certain markets seeing a huge drop-off in beer drinking (−32 per cent in Argentina, for example).

 

Another anticipated consequence is that beer prices would double worldwide, and would rise even more dramatically in some markets (e.g., +193 per cent in Ireland).

 

Although hardly the most concerning impact related to future climate change, the thought that climate-related weather extremes may threaten the availability and economic accessibility of beer is…well…sobering.

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