Breweries facing ‘critical’ barley shortage

Citizen Times
Tony Kiss
,  February 2, 2015


Three types of malt barley sit on the counter at Oyster House Brewing in Asheville, N.C. (Photo: Katie Bailey, Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times)

Mother Nature is causing headaches for breweries here and nationwide as they scramble to get the quality barley needed for first-class beer.

Heavy rains last fall in barley country — Montana and Idaho — pounded the crop, leaving a lot of it unsuitable for brewing. That has limited the supply of top-quality brewing barley nationwide and sent waves of concern through the beer world.

What it means for the beer customer is still uncertain. If costs increase, some breweries may have to pass them along to the customer. Brewers will work to make sure that beers taste the same as always.

The issue is “critical,” says the Asheville Brewers Alliance, which is hosting a two-day barley summit for breweries Feb. 6-7 in Asheville. The program will explore barley issues and options. The need for a strong barley supply is magnified by the 19 breweries in Asheville and Buncombe County, and more than a dozen others around the mountains. Nationally, there are about 3,200 craft breweries across the U.S., all of them scrambling for the same ingredients.  Full Article

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