Beer prices could double as a result of Climate Change

Friends drinking beer

The price of beer could skyrocket as a result of climate change, according to scientists in the USA.

The researchers, from the University of California, predict there will be a sharp fall in crop yields of barley in parts of Europe, Australia, Asia and the US.

Crop yields are predicted to fall from anywhere between 3%-17%, depending on the level of climate change.

The Huge Plains in US and the Asian steppe are likely to be among the hardest hit regions as the researchers predict they will experience more frequent droughts in years to come.

Barley is an essential ingredient in beer and the shortage will lead to a global crisis in beer supply. Prices could double and a six pack of beer could increase by as much as £15 in some parts of the world.

Dr Steven Davis co-authored the research, which was published in Nature Plants.

He said: “The world is facing many life-threatening impacts of climate change, so people having to spend a bit more to drink beer may seem trivial by comparison.

“But there is definitely a cross-cultural appeal to beer, and not having a cool pint at the end of an increasingly common hot day just adds insult to injury.”

Most barley is harvested for animal feed, with only around 17% used to brew alcohol. In future decades, feeding the animals is likely to take priority over brewing beer with the limited barley supply.

Dabo Guan is Professor of Climate Change Economics at UEA’s School of International Development, and the lead UK author of the research.

He believes staple foods will be prioritised at the expense of ‘luxury’ goods such as beer – although he concedes that beer could still have an important role to play in society.

He said: “Although some attention has been paid to the potential impacts of climate change on luxury crops such as wine and coffee, the impacts on beer have not been carefully evaluated.

“A sufficient beer supply may help with the stability of entertainment and communication in society.”

Wealthy countries such as Belgium, Canada, Denmark and Poland – where beer is hugely popular – are likely to experience the sharpest price rises.