Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beer Prices Going Up - Signs of the Apocalypse?

What's happening to our malt and hops? It's late 2007 and reports of shortages of barley and hops are popping up all over the world. Beer prices are going to go way in 2008. Say it ain't so!! If there was ever a time to get concerned it's now.

For the first time in years, there is a worldwide shortage of hops and barley - two of the key ingredients for making our favorite beverage - BEER! And while the big macro beer companies aren't as worried, the smaller craft breweries will soon be forced to jack up their prices in light of harder to get ingredients.

I found this article from WCCO TV in Minnesota about why you should expect to be paying 10% or more higher for your beer soon.

Brewing Problem: Hops And Barley Prices Rise

Jason DeRusha - Reporting

(WCCO) A worldwide shortage of hops and rising prices for barley are proving to be a one-two punch for the micro brewing industry. And many brewers expect the price for a six-pack to go up.

"It's gonna go up. We have to pass along some of those costs," said Surly Brewing Co. President Omar Ansari.

According to Ansari, Surly will produce approximately 62,000 gallons of beer this year. His small brewery has just five employees. The hops shortage has resulted in his price rising nearly ten times.

"I literally, my jaw hit the table," said Ansari.

Hops is one of four ingredients for beer. Water, yeast and barley are the others. Hops is a type of flower. For brewing, the flower is turned into little pellets. The pellets provide the aroma for the beer, and the bitter flavor that is beer's hallmark.

"If you can't get hops you can't make beer," Ansari explained.

Industry observers city several reasons for the hops shortage. Bad weather in Europe has increased demand for U.S. hope. However, low-profit margins in past years has forced many American farmers into planting other crops.

"Two years ago a pound of hops was $2. Now a pound of hops is $20, if you can find them," said Brian MacKenzie, owner of MacKenzie's Pub in downtown Minneapolis.

He said he's already raised prices on some of his beers by a quarter. He expects prices to rise again in the new year.

"We haven't seen increases in beer prices like this in the 13 plus years that we've been here," he said.

At Midwest Homebrewing in St. Louis Park, owner Dave Turbenson said he can't get nearly a dozen hops varieties. He expects he'll have to raise prices on his beer kits by about 10 percent, or $2 dollars a kit.

Hops aren't the only problem. Ansari said his barley bill is also frothing him.

"It up to 45 cents a pound. Last year it was 28 cents a pound," he said.

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Do you think farmers are growing too much corn to make money off the new bio-fuel craze? It's starting to hurt us people. Stop growing corn and get back to growing more hops and barley! Heck, this shortage should be driving up prices enough for them to want to return to growing that stuff. I might even start growing hops in my back yard and do more homebrew. It's about to get ridiculous to buy a six pack of beer.

Related articles:
- Higher beer prices - How will it affect you?
- Hop shortages cause rising beer prices.
- How much are you paying for beer these days?

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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