Jim Salinger, a climate scientist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, says climate change likely will cause a decline in the production of malting barley in parts of New Zealand and Australia.
“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.
His is a longterm prediction, looking 30 years out, although brewers around the world experienced the domino effect of a poor crop in Australia last year. China, which now consumes more beer than any country in the world, relies heavily on barley malt from Australia. When that wasn’t available prices around the world went up.
“It will provide a lot of challenges for the brewing industry,” even forcing breweries to look at new varieties of malt barley as a direct result of climate change, Salinger said.
Similar effects are expected worldwide, and barley prices also will be affected as farmers are find it lucrative to grow crops other than intended for malt.