Like coffee and chocolate, beer is one of the common pleasures of life being damaged now by global warming. Good beer depends on water, barley, and hops — all of which are being disrupted by greenhouse pollution from burning fossil fuels. Jenn Orgolini, sustainability director for Colorado’s New Belgium Brewery, the third-largest craft brewing company in the United States, warns that climate change is hurting beer quality today:
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. If you drink beer now, the issue of climate change is impacting you right now.
“For our brewery, growth depends on abundant clean water and quality barley and hops—and climate change puts those ingredients at risk. Our supply chain—including barley, hops and water—is especially vulnerable to weather in the short-term and to climate change in the long-term,” Orgolini told Forbes.
Climate change has caused the quality and yield of Saaz hops — the key ingredient in Czech pilsner lager — to decline. Global warming pollution will cause further declines, scientists found in 2009. Yields of malting barley will also decline in coming years as droughts increase because of carbon pollution.