Beer Abroad Could Get Way More Expensive — and Hard to Find

Oct 16, 2018

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Tipping back a brew in your favorite overseas pub could someday cost you twice as much or more than it does today — if the keg isn’t already tapped out, that is.

This could be an annoying side effect of global warming, as extreme weather leads to significant decreases in barley yields worldwide, new research published this week in the journal Nature Plants found. In countries where barley becomes more scarce, there could be a beer shortage, accompanied by large price spikes.

The countries where beer prices could climb the most include:

  • Poland +377%
  • Czech Republic +143%
  • Canada +133%
  • Belgium +95%
  • Ireland +93%
  • Japan +34%

These are the countries where much of the barley yield will be lost to livestock, which will have priority when the grain supply is low, the researchers theorized.

“There is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer availability and price will add insult to injury,” Dabo Guan, a member of the research team and professor at the University of East Anglia, told the Guardian.

“If you still want to still have a couple of pints of beer while you watch the football, then climate change (action) is the only way out. This is the key message,” Guan said.

Researchers developed several models to examine possible impacts of climate change on barley crops over the next 80 years. In the best-case scenario, crop yields rose by as much as 90% in certain areas including China and the US, “but those increases weren’t enough to offset poor harvests worldwide,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

The worst-case scenario could well cause beer prices to double on average and lead to a decline in beer drinking by 10% in China, the world’s biggest consumer of beer, the Journal reported. Global beer consumption could drop by 16% on average, the researchers found.

“Although the effects on beer may seem inconsequential in comparison to many of the other — some life-threatening — impacts of climate change,” the researchers wrote, “there is nonetheless something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer.”

Featured image by Rafa Elias / Getty Images

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