Beer and Global Warming Part 2

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As reason contributor Peter Suderman pointed out yesterday, the biofuels craze is already boosting the price of beer because farmers are shifting away from barley to biofuel crops made more lucrative by mandates and subsidies.

http://www.alcohol-stuff.co.uk/images/beer-mug.JPG

 

As if that weren't bad enough, a New Zealand climatologist now warns:

The price of beer is likely to rise in coming decades because climate change will hamper the production of a key grain needed for the brew -- especially in Australia, a scientist warned Tuesday.

Jim Salinger, a climate scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, said climate change likely will cause a decline in the production of malting barley in parts of New Zealand and Australia. Malting barley is a key ingredient of beer.

"It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention.

Whole depressing AP article here.

Disclosure: I drink scotch--preferably single malt Caol Ila, Lagavulin, or Laphroaig--which is also made using barley. 

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  1. OK, now I’m taking AGW seriously.

  2. Big fan of Laphroiag and Lagavulin. I’ll have to try the Caol Ila.

    I doubt any Southern Hemisphere barley is used to make scotch, though.

  3. I suspect M.A.D.D is behind this.

  4. RC Dean: True, but climate change is a global phenom, so Scotland will be affected too. 😉

  5. If it’s not Scottish it’s crap.

  6. The point isn’t to start taking AGW seriously, the point is that we need to start taking misguided government action seriously. Anyway, we should allow the earth to warm to the point of getting two barley growing seasons. That might not lower the price of those fancy single malts, but it should make my rotgut stuff a little cheaper.

  7. One more thing.Does anyone not think areas that produce barley will step up and increase production.I think world trade will cure this ‘problem’.

  8. And that doesn’t even take into account the global warming effect of the gases released into the atmosphere following beer consumption. I know that I personally produce enough methane from a 6-pack of Sam Adams to raise the earth’s temperature a couple of degrees.

  9. One more thing.Does anyone not think areas that produce barley will step up and increase production.I think world trade will cure this ‘problem’.

    Uh Michael …

    the biofuels craze is already boosting the price of beer because farmers are shifting away from barley to biofuel crops made more lucrative by mandates and subsidies.

    The “problem” is more expensive beer. So it’s no, until barley gets to be just as lucrative (read expensive). The sad thing is things like crappy American corn beers will have even more price advantage, increasing market share for the supposed “King of Beers”

  10. The price of beer is likely to rise in coming decades

    Like most every other commodity? That’s a stunning prediction. Salinger has discovered inflation!
    I smell Nobel, and I don’t mean hops.

  11. “It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up,”

    Depending on whether or not the government imposes price controls.

    ——-

    Has anybody else seen the stories about Jim Koch(?) of Sam Adams selling some of his hops inventory to other craft brewers because of the shortage?

  12. It’s lonesome away from your kindred and all
    By the campfire at night where the wild dingos call
    But there’s nothin’ so lonesome, so dull or so drear
    Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer

    Now the publican’s anxious for the quota to come
    There’s a faraway look on the face of the bum
    The maid’s gone all cranky and the cook’s acting queer
    What a terrible place is a pub with no beer

    The stockman rides up with his dry, dusty throat
    He breasts up to the bar, pulls a wad from his coat
    But the smile on his face quickly turns to a sneer
    When the barman says suddenly: “The pub’s got no beer!”

    There’s a dog on the verandah, for his master he waits
    But the boss is inside drinking wine with his mates
    He hurries for cover and he cringes in fear
    It’s no place for a dog round a pub with no beer

    Then in comes the swagman, all covered with flies
    He throws down his roll, wipes the sweat from his eyes
    But when he is told he says, “What’s this I hear?
    I’ve trudged fifty flamin’ miles to a pub with no beer!”

    Old Billy, the blacksmith, the first time in his life
    Has gone home cold sober to his darling wife
    He walks in the kitchen; she says: “You’re early, me dear”
    Then he breaks down and he tells her that the pub’s got no beer

  13. MO,Bud uses rice,not corn and it sucks.In Germany it’s not even legal to call it ‘bier’.When corn based fuel crashes[and it will]prices will drop.It might take awhile but, a house of cards will crumble.It might take years but the laws of economics always win.Look at any non defense business built on subsidies the last 500 yeas and see how many exist today.

  14. I smell Nobel, and I don’t mean hops.

    My God…it’s full of win.

  15. You can afford single-malts? I guess journalism does pay well in some places. FWIW, on the rare occasions I pick up a bottle of the good stuff, I tend to go for Glenfiddich.

  16. Number 6: It’s a matter of priorities–does one spend one’s money on fripperies like clothes or cars, or on necessities? Also, my wife’s relatives don’t know what to buy me for Xmas and my birthday, so they usually opt for fine single malts – no complaints from me there.

  17. I need to get me some relatives like Ron’s.

  18. Also, my wife’s relatives don’t know what to buy me for Xmas and my birthday, so they usually opt for fine single malts – no complaints from me there.

    I’ve been using this technique with good success. If just a couple of people chip in or get me a couple of bottles of the good stuff, I’m set for the year.

  19. Go Laphroaig or go home.

  20. I’ll have to try the Caol Ila.

    I tried it after Bailey posted about it last year. It’s smooth but not particularly flavorful. I still prefer Lagavulin (or my personal favorite, Glenmorangie 12-year aged in port casks).

    I did see my first $900 bottle of single malt. Oh my. 30+ years aged. I forget who bottled it though.

  21. I can’t believe no one else has said it yet:

    Ron Bailey is just shilling for Big Malt.

  22. Ardbeg not on the list? I keep changing my mind about whether Laphroaig or Ardbeg is my favourite Islay Malt.

  23. Good call Chris. I was wondering where the Ardbeg fans were.

  24. get me a couple of bottles of the good stuff, I’m set for the year.

    Don’t you mean “week”? Or do I drink too much?

  25. ed,

    Seven days without alcohol makes one weak.

  26. The price of beer is likely to rise in coming decades because climate change will hamper the production of a key grain needed for the brew

    Yeah, yeah, and acid rain will kill all the crops by 1995.

    Anyways, according to Ted Turner we’ll all be cannibals by 2040, so beer will be the least of our concerns.

    Doomed! We’re all doomed!

  27. If it’s not Scottish it’s crap.

    This guy disagrees.

  28. Look at any non defense business built on subsidies the last 500 yeas and see how many exist today.

    In US agriculture? You got to be kidding. HFCS anyone?

  29. I am a fan of big smoky Islay malts like Laphroaig and Lagavulin rather than the Speyside stuff.

    Don’t get me wrong though, if Number 6* opts to buy me a Bottle of Glenfiddich or Glenlivet, I will accept with gracious humility.

    *Or any of you slackers!! I suggest my Birthday, Christmas, fourth of July, or the Day I stubbed my toe as all suitable holidays for giving me scotch. Snap to it!!

  30. Warren,true ,but the market does set the price and many under and unproductive farms have been squeezed out over the years.If farm subsidies were dropped tomorrow the farm sector would still exist and be better.Corn based fuel would fail without tax dollars.

  31. TallDave,

    “Anyways, according to Ted Turner we’ll all be cannibals by 2040, so beer will be the least of our concerns.”

    Speak for yourself. I’m going want some cold ones to wash down those fingers and toes.

  32. I drink Zima.

  33. I’m going want some cold ones to wash down those fingers and toes

    I prefer a nice Chianti.

  34. Yeah, yeah, and acid rain will kill all the crops by 1995.

    Uh, sulfur is way down in the US, so acid rain is way down. Ask the Chinese how pollution affect their crop outputs. There are major protests there because acid rain is significantly reducing crop output. Just because acid rain isn’t a problem today doesn’t mean acid rain itself isn’t a problem.

  35. Uh, sulfur is way down in the US, so acid rain is way down.

    Yeah, we’ve basically shifted all our pollution-producing industries to China. Thats why when I was in college the Chinese exchange students would always rave about how clean Richmond(!) was. “Wow the sky is blue!” and so on.

  36. Michael Pack
    I don’t disagree. I’m just saying the “house of cards is doomed” metaphor doesn’t hold watter. If market forces were able to penetrate bad government regulation, the other recreational drugs would have been prohibited only as long as alcohol was. And of course the uncountable ways certain agricultural products are subsidized has been going on for most of the last century. Worse yet, no matter how undeniably corrupt and harmful, some of these subsidies seem immortal.

  37. When I feel the need, I go with single-malt Irish. Puts that Scottish crap to shame.

  38. Colony collapse is a far greater problem. Honey is spiking and it becomes far more expensive to make a good mead.

  39. Climate change is normal. It’s what the climate does. Some places that used to be great grain producers last century might not be so great next century. Ditto for other crops. Regardless of whether you think it is caused by Hummer-driving Republicans or not is irrelevant.

    But it isn’t the Hummers who are doing this to grain prices. It’s Prius-driving Democrats (and their counterparts in other nations) lobbying their government for biofuel subsidies. The rainforests aren’t withering away because the temperature rose a tenth of a degree, they’re being deliberately cut down in pursuit of government handouts.

  40. I yearn for the days of sour mash. No booze for 30 years doesn’t make one feel any better, ‘ceptin’ in the mornin’.

  41. True, but climate change is a global phenom, so Scotland will be affected too.

    Wake me up when the Scots start fretting about it, then.

    Although, given the more recent trends, maybe we would start worring about whether Scotland will get too cold to grow a good barley.

  42. Wake me up when the Scots start fretting about it, then.

    Scots don’t fret. We’re stoic.

    Willies mum:So you’re back son
    Willie:Aye
    Willies dad: I guess you’ll be lavin’ soon
    Willie:Aye

    *all shrug*

    Scottish man:we’ve lost are homes and everythin’ we hold dear
    Willies dad:(nod) aye

  43. energy independence is much more important than global warming. when the US is energy independent there will be no more oil wars and the terrorists will all be too impoverished to reach us. This will save lives AND energy. The global warming crowd can’t claim this. They can claim that they will damage and perhaps destroy capitalism which is their true aim. I for one am not done using capitalism. So I want to keep it. True believers in global warm are free to starve and freeze to death next winter–their choice. Think of all the energy they will save! By the by, don’t ever expect a Greenie to sacrifice anything in his own life to “show the green way.” Global warming is about controlling you and emptying your wallet. When it becomes about something else one of the first things you will notice is that you will understand nothing that is said about global warming. That is because it will all be said in Mandarin Chinese. Only the Chinese can stop man made climate change. They are going through an industrial revolution that is sure to dwarf our own. Does this mean we should do nothing? Far from it. Let’s study what Denmark, France, Brazil, and Australia have done on energy and do likewise. Let’s drill wherever we have oil and put a new nuclear power plant in every state. Let’s use all our coal and natural gas. We don’t need foreign energy. The only people who say we can’t get off foreign oil are greedy conservatives who are getting paid every time a new oil war starts.

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