Climate changing beer, too

Barley grain used in the production of beer at the Asahi Kanagawa Brewery in Japan

Enlarge Barley grain used in the production of beer at the Asahi Kanagawa Brewery in Japan Tomohiro Ohsumi Bloomberg Getty Images

Due to global warming, barley production will decline, leading to a decrease in consumption and an increase in the price of the world's most popular drink.

"Ultimately, our modelling suggests that increasingly widespread and severe droughts and heat under climate change will cause considerable disruption to global beer consumption and increase beer prices", the research report (here in English) found.

"If you still want to still have a couple of pints of beer while you watch the football, then climate change [action] is the only way out", Guan said. Top-fermenting yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has greater tolerance to alcohol, and hence produces stronger (higher alcohol content) beers.Ales tend to be darker, have a cloudier appearance, and a stronger, more robust flavour.

According to his report, consumption would fall by as much as 16 percent, or roughly the amount of beer drunk in the United States in 2011, and prices would double on average by the end of this century.

He added: "While the effects on beer may seem modest in comparison to numerous other - some life-threatening - impacts of climate change, there is nonetheless something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer".

The game-changing study was published in the United Kingdom journal "Nature Plants".

Stark warnings about the potential impact of climate change have been issued for years. The volume consumed in China - the world's largest beer consuming country - plummets by more than any other country as the severity of extreme events increases.

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Most of the barley produced worldwide is used for animal feed, with only about 17 per cent used for brewing.

HOLD on to your pint because we've got some bad news for beer drinkers.

On top of rising sea levels and extreme weather, scientists have predicted that human-caused climate change will result in another dire outcome: a disruption in the global beer supply.

Overall, the global beer industry could potentially incur an average yield loss between 3 percent and 17 percent.

Hundreds of millions of beer lovers could lose affordable access to their favourite alcohol within a few decades, as the crops used to brew it may not survive human-driven climate change.

Overall, Sluyter said Guan and his team's research contributed to the larger picture where climate change proved to be a significant threat against the world's food supply. Less than 20 percent of the world's barley is made into beer. "That makes sense. This is a luxury commodity and it's more important to have food on the table". In the worst case scenario, where emissions and temperatures keep increasing, such extremes might occur in 31% of the years.

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