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jmcclain19
12-20-2007, 10:37 PM
Wish this was a joke story - but sadly it's not

http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10337782


Trouble brewing

Dec 19th 2007 | ST LOUIS
From The Economist print edition
A shortage of hops threatens Christmas

JUST as the festive season gets going, drinkers in America are finding their favourite beer suddenly more expensive or even—horrors!—not available at all. Hit by price increases and shortages, many breweries, particularly the small “craft brewers” and the even smaller microbreweries, are being forced to raise prices, make do with modified recipes or shut off the spigots altogether.

The humble hop, the plant that gives beer its distinctive flavour, is the main problem. Many farmers in the Pacific north-west, where America's hop production is concentrated, have turned to more profitable lines—especially corn, which can be made into ethanol. The decrease in hop production, put at some 50% over the past decade, has sent prices through the roof. Brian Owens, the brewmaster of the O'Fallon Brewery near St Louis, Missouri, says that the variety he once bought for $3 a pound (0.45kg) now costs five times that. Many smaller breweries cannot find what they need at any price. Industry giants like Anheuser-Busch and Miller are better off, thanks to long-term contracts. But even Anheuser-Busch has been forced to raise prices for its six-packs.

Without their supply of hops, some smaller producers are going out of business, bringing to a halt the fastest-growing segment of the industry. Other craft brewers and brewpubs are experimenting with new recipes, hoping their customers will adapt.

The hops shortage is only part of the problem. Things are no better for barley, used to make the malt that yeast turns into alcohol. It too has been ploughed under in favour of corn. Crop failures in Australia and Europe, combined with the weak dollar, have made it harder to replace the shortage with imports. Other price increases, of fuel, glass and metal, add to the pressure. Not such a merry Christmas.

Anyone in the NW have some available farmland to grow some hops?

Falls City Beer
12-20-2007, 10:46 PM
Ethanol's a joke solution to the fuel crunch anyway. Trust me, we're going to need the beer much more than the corn that'll keep gas prices at $5.20 a gallon instead of $5.30.

Yachtzee
12-20-2007, 10:48 PM
Wish this was a joke story - but sadly it's not

http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10337782



Anyone in the NW have some available farmland to grow some hops?

The real tragedy of ethanol. We've got tons of corn growing in the Midwest and they could probably grow tons more if needed, but everyone's so ethanol crazy they havepeople plowing under prime hopgrowing regions to grow corn. What's next, ripping out Napa Valley vineyards to grow corn? Ridiculous.

Betterread
12-20-2007, 10:55 PM
Don't worry. Corn has been an integral part of the production of beer for a awhile (the alcohol comes from glucose refined from corn).

Yachtzee
12-21-2007, 08:16 AM
Don't worry. Corn has been an integral part of the production of beer for a awhile (the alcohol comes from glucose refined from corn).

Actually, corn has always been a cheap filler used to replace more expensive barley in budget beers. I don't like the taste of beer that has corn added. Barley, sometimes with wheat or oatmeal added, is the way to go.

MWM
12-21-2007, 08:28 AM
In my business, the increase in corn demand has created significant price inflation on all other crops and it's creating shortages in plenty of them as well. It's a tough task to deal with.

flyer85
12-21-2007, 11:04 AM
need to design a vehicle that will run on beer ... problem sol-ved.

Unassisted
12-21-2007, 11:17 AM
There is a silver lining here. No one will ever have to settle for "cheap beer" again because all beer will be expensive. ;)

westofyou
12-21-2007, 11:20 AM
Don't worry. Corn has been an integral part of the production of beer for a awhile (the alcohol comes from glucose refined from corn).

Bad beer is still bad beer.. and often time it's got corn in it.

Highlifeman21
12-21-2007, 11:39 AM
It sounds like we need the Goverment to step in and start offering subsidies to Hops farmers.

jimbo
12-21-2007, 12:58 PM
Bad beer is still bad beer.. and often time it's got corn in it.

Pretty much all bad beer has corn in it. I think the only mass produced domestic beer that does not have corn is Michelob, which recently just made the change.

919191
12-22-2007, 01:04 AM
I had a couple of Arrogant Bastard Ales recently. I think they have all the hops.

SunDeck
12-22-2007, 07:48 AM
The real tragedy of ethanol. We've got tons of corn growing in the Midwest and they could probably grow tons more if needed, but everyone's so ethanol crazy they havepeople plowing under prime hopgrowing regions to grow corn. What's next, ripping out Napa Valley vineyards to grow corn? Ridiculous.

I think the ethanol idea is already beginning to reveal itself as a non-solution to the oil problem. It's driving the cost of milk and beef up (duh) already.

gonelong
12-22-2007, 10:16 AM
I didn't do anything to help the Hops shortage last night. Whew!

GL

pedro
12-22-2007, 06:48 PM
Beers just went up .50 a pint at the neighborhood pub.

camisadelgolf
12-24-2007, 02:40 AM
I'm spending my first Christmas away from America, and it looks like my timing couldn't be any better. Sehnt sich Phasendeutschland!

sonny
12-24-2007, 04:34 AM
Guess I have to stop putting beer in my eggnog.

Yachtzee
12-24-2007, 10:38 AM
I'm spending my first Christmas away from America, and it looks like my timing couldn't be any better. Sehnt sich Phasendeutschland!

I envy you. Two Christmases in Austria were very nice. I would head down to the Christkindlmarkt for some Gluehwein and Lebkuchen or Bier and Wurst. Frohliche Weihnachten.

CrackerJack
12-25-2007, 02:29 AM
I will just have to pay more, much like I do for all the organic/natural products I opt for.

camisadelgolf
12-25-2007, 12:22 PM
I envy you. Two Christmases in Austria were very nice. I would head down to the Christkindlmarkt for some Gluehwein and Lebkuchen or Bier and Wurst. Frohliche Weihnachten.

I've been to all kinds of Weihnachtmarkts this year. I'm definitely enjoying my share of glühwein and leberkäse. Still, I always end up coming back to beer. It's just too good to not drink as much as possible. I do miss eggnog, though. Frohe Weihnachten. ;)

jmcclain19
12-27-2007, 11:20 PM
Americans are running out of hops - and Germans are drinking much less of it. Not great news on the beer front


http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/germany_beer_dc

Beer losing its fizzle in Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans are losing their taste for beer, according to the German brewery association.

Per-capita consumption of beer in Germany, once the world's largest consumer of the drink, fell by 3.5 liters in 2007 to 112.5 liters -- the eighth decline in the last nine years.

Brewery Association managing director Peter Hahn told Die Welt newspaper on Monday demographics were partly to blame for the fall from a peak of 156 liters in the 1980s.

But Germans are also drinking more non-alcoholic beverages, industry figures show.

Only once in the last nine years did beer consumption in Germany rise -- in 2006 when it hosted the World Cup. It has long since fallen behind the Czech Republic and Ireland."

camisadelgolf
12-29-2007, 05:42 PM
It's true. FWIW, some of the best white wines I've ever had are made out here. On a side note, when I go to a bar, I'm amazed by how many people are drinking Red Bull.

Yachtzee
12-29-2007, 06:06 PM
It's true. FWIW, some of the best white wines I've ever had are made out here. On a side note, when I go to a bar, I'm amazed by how many people are drinking Red Bull.

Red Bull was invented in Austria and folks started mixing it with vodka right away. Red Bull + Red Vodka = Fluegel. Of course, they've got the red vodka over there. I've never seen it over here.

German white wines are pretty tasty. If you visit Austria in the late summer/early fall, try to find a "heurigen." It's a special wine bar that serves this year's wine. Watch out for "Sturm" though. It's made from the dregs of the pressing and looks like cloudy wine. It's deceptively strong and can give you a nasty hangover.

You should try some Rauchbier while your over there. It's a beer made with smoked malt. Takes some getting used to, but goes well with a smoked sausage. Also, there's Steinbier, which is beer brewed by dropping superheated boulders into the vat of wort to boil it. Sugar caramelized on the boulder and imparts a distinct flavor to the beer.

camisadelgolf
12-29-2007, 06:45 PM
Red Bull was invented in Austria and folks started mixing it with vodka right away. Red Bull + Red Vodka = Fluegel. Of course, they've got the red vodka over there. I've never seen it over here.

German white wines are pretty tasty. If you visit Austria in the late summer/early fall, try to find a "heurigen." It's a special wine bar that serves this year's wine. Watch out for "Sturm" though. It's made from the dregs of the pressing and looks like cloudy wine. It's deceptively strong and can give you a nasty hangover.

You should try some Rauchbier while your over there. It's a beer made with smoked malt. Takes some getting used to, but goes well with a smoked sausage. Also, there's Steinbier, which is beer brewed by dropping superheated boulders into the vat of wort to boil it. Sugar caramelized on the boulder and imparts a distinct flavor to the beer.

Thanks for the advice. I've put it all on my 'To Do Before I Die' list.

Betterread
12-29-2007, 07:01 PM
German white wines are pretty tasty. If you visit Austria in the late summer/early fall, try to find a "heurigen." It's a special wine bar that serves this year's wine. Watch out for "Sturm" though. It's made from the dregs of the pressing and looks like cloudy wine. It's deceptively strong and can give you a nasty hangover.

Spending an evening going from Heurige to Heurige on the outskirts of Vienna is a highly recommended entertainment. Not necessarily for the great wine (typically the most recently made wine, but it is super-cheap) but because they're not really wine bars but they are rooms in the front of a house or on the patio and they set out various snacks that you can select. Its like a buffet where you can eat as little or as much as you like. It is very informal and very cool and you meet a lot of people and don't feel like a tourist.
An easy to find Austrian wine in the US is Gruner Veltliner - light, white wine that is very easy to drink.