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Sierra Daily

Dec 01, 2011

Crying In Your Beer

Hops2ThinkProgress alerts us to the latest in a string of news stories about the impact of climate change on beer production: According to Jenn Orgolini, sustainability director for Colorado’s New Belgium Brewery, climate change is affecting the supply of key ingredients like barley and hops, not to mention water.

“This is not a problem that’s going to happen someday, and this is not a problem that’s just going to impact some industries,” Orgolini told the Durango Herald. “If you drink beer now, the issue of climate change is impacting you right now.” Among those impacts: higher prices for raw materials or scarcer products such as specialty hops. According to Orgolini, more beer is produced in Colorado than in any other state.

But it's not called global warming for nothing: In drought-stricken South Africa, cricket star Dale Steyn has been recruited by South African Breweries as the company's first water ambassador, "In 20 or 50 years' time, what will the world's most valuable asset be? Between oil, gold and water, it will no doubt be water," says Steyn.

You can read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent, sobering report on the erratic and destructive weather events that we should learn to expect, but you might want to pour yourself a cold one first. If you really want to test your drinking skills, ThinkProgress offers a full round of articles about global warming’s impact on coffee, peanut butter, chocolate, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July.

-- Reed McManus

Image: Hops. Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

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