FOR MANY OF US, THE REALITY OF CLIMATE CHANGE is still an abstract one. We see it as a far-off catastrophe that will be felt primarily by future generations rather than ours. If this is how you’ve been looking at climate change, it’s finally about to get real: climate change is already threatening our beer supply.
According to NPR’s The Salt, many breweries have already felt the pressure of climate change: In California, the recent drought has forced breweries like the Bear Republic Brewing Company to pull back on distribution. Water is one of the main ingredients of beer (along with hops, yeast, and barley), so any places experiencing similar water shortages will have the same problem.
These problems are obviously not limited to beer — droughts and extreme weather are going to have an adverse impact on all sorts of crops, not just the ones involved in the production of beer — but hops in the United States are primarily grown in the Pacific Northwest, which has experienced rising temperatures in recent years, which has resulted in smaller crops at a time when demand is on the rise. This has meant that climate change is also likely contributing to increases in the cost of beer as well.
Many breweries have been doing their best to become green in response, either by brewing their beer in green buildings, or by using green energy to power their operations. You can help, too, by buying local beers that have lower carbon footprints than beers imported from out of country or out of state. I, personally at least, will be damned if I let the oncoming climate apocalypse cut into my beer consumption.
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