Wet weather in northern Europe and Great Britain could reduce the quantity and quality of the barley harvest, and in turn lead to still higher prices for barley, then malt and beer.
Many American brewers, particularly smaller brewers, use British and European malts.
German spring barley prices have now risen to around 260 euros a ton, up 50 euros since the start of the year, while German malt prices have risen to around 475 euros a ton, up about 80 euros since January.
Michael Lerch, chief executive of the Association of German Malt Producers, indicated a troubled harvest could lead to quality concerns:
“We still have to wait for the actual harvest to come in during the next few weeks, so the current picture is still speculative. If not enough spring barley is available, then alternatives must be sought.”
“It could be that eventually barley which normally would go for animal feed will have to be used for brewing. This was also done in the past year when spring barley supplies were tight.”
“You would not notice this in the quality of beer, but such barley produces malt which is more difficult and time-consuming to brew beer with.”
More about barley quality, malt quality and beer quality.