Climate Change Likely to Ding Beer Supply

16 October, 2018, 23:28 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the world by volume consumed

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The findings come a week after a dire United Nations report described consequences of unsafe levels of climate change including worsening food and water shortages, heat waves, sea level rise, and disease.

The world's beer drinkers will be drowning their sorrows after a study found that the price of a pint could double because of climate change.

Forty-three percent of Americans said beer was their favorite type of alochol in 2016, according to Gallup, with 32 percent saying the same about wine and another 20 percent sticking by hard liquor.

During severe climate events, global beer consumption would decline by 16 percent, or almost 30 billion litres - equal to all the beer quaffed each year in the United States, Guan and an worldwide team of researchers reported in the journal Nature Plants. The price only jumps 15 percent and consumption drops four percent in less severe scenarios.

"That's comparable to all the beer consumption in the United States", he added, "Future climate and pricing conditions could put beer out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world". The U.S. wouldn't be far behind, with beer consumption projected to fall by an average of around 1.75 billion liters.

Even under the two middle-range climate models used in the study, beer consumption is forecast to fall by an average of around 2 billion liters in China alone.

"Current levels of fossil fuel consumption and Carbon dioxide pollution - business as usual - will result in this worst-case scenario, with more weather extremes negatively impacting the world's beer basket", said co-author Nathan Mueller.

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An extreme weather year was defined as one with both heatwaves and drought - in a barley region during growing season - more severe than once-a-century events before global warming began.

Decreasing yields would leave less barley for beer production, as its use as food and cattle feed takes precedence. The researchers then used economic models to interpret the real-term financial impact that shortages could have on the beer industry.

"Climate change may undermine the availability, stability and access to "luxury" goods", said Guan.

"There is something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer".

In 2017, US beer sales exceeded $34 billion, according to Brewbound, which cited data from IRI Worldwide.

As the adage goes, "It's all fun and games until the beer runs out".

The study suggests consumption levels could drop by a quarter in the United Kingdom, however, the outlook could be particularly dire for Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic, where consumption could drop by a third and prices could double.

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