1. Food

Rising Beer Prices

By December 20, 2007

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I'm sure that you've noticed beer is getting more expensive. There are lot of factors that go into the cost of beer and all of them seem to be costing more and more. One factor, though, seems to come out in every news piece I read; farmers are turning to corn. Growers of hops and barley are increasingly switching to corn as the demand for ethanol continues to go up.

Where will this go? I have no idea but it seems to me that there should be a tipping point when the prices of barley and hops will be so high that the farmers will start growing them again. In the meantime, though, hang on; it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Comments

December 25, 2007 at 1:32 am
(1) Beer Question Guy says:

Hey Bryce, Thanks for the heads up on the hops prices.

Is there anything we can do as consumers to keep the prices in check?
Will the higher prices be seen more in commercial beers or will home brewers see more of a hit buying ingredients?

Thanks, Rich

December 25, 2007 at 7:22 am
(2) Bryce Eddings says:

Hi Rich,

Thanks for the comment. I don’t have any inside information on this one but that’s never stopped me from speculating before so why should it now?

I can’t imagine anything that we as consumers can do to combat the prices if we also want to keep up a demand for good beer. It’s a bit of a catch-22, really. If we keep buying good beer at higher prices then we demonstrate that we’re willing to pay higher prices so that when/if the supply problems get resolved the price might not go back down. The brewers would simply enjoy more profit, which isn’t an entirely bad thing. But I’m hardly an economist…

As for hops and the homebrewer – when you’re brewing five gallons at a time, as most homebrewers do, a doubling or even a tripling of the cost of a few ounces of hops wouldn’t really be that big of a deal. I think that bigger issue for homebrewers will be supply and variety. It might become very difficult to find even the most common varieties of hops. But homebrewers are innovators and we might discover some pretty interesting hop combinations as we struggle to make do with what we have as we try to reach the desired IBU. Perhaps it’s time to finally buy some rhizomes and grow our own?

Nice site, by the way. Keep up the good work!

Cheers,
Bryce

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