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Beer glass half empty? Climate change impacting hops and barley growth

Warmer weather, wildfires, and drought conditions have started to influence the growth of hops and barley -- the main ingredients in beer.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Spring has been trending warmer the past 50 years with average March temperatures increasing 2.4 degrees. 

The warmer weather, wildfires, and drought conditions have started to influence the growth of hops and barley -- the main ingredients in beer. 

"When you have warming temperatures and drought like we did last year,  protein levels are too high to be used to be malting barley so the warm temperatures not only effect the supply, but they effect the quality," said Chuck Skypeck, brewing projects director for the Brewing Association. 

Credit: WBNS 10TV

According to the Brewing Association, barley and hops are sensitive crops when it comes to climate. Warmer weather has caused certain crops to migrate north or be in short supply. With the short supply, brewers might need to find ingredients elsewhere. 

“You might also notice the change of flavor in a beer because they have to source the barley from another area,” said Skypeck. 

Smoke taint from the wildfire outbreaks have changed the profile of some beer and wines. Beyond the weather, supply issues have also hurt brewers. 

Credit: WBNS 10TV

“We have seen barley prices go up as much as 40 percent and on top of that almost everything our brewers use has increased in price from cardboard, to labels, to cans,” said Skypeck. 

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