An article on Ask The Beer Guy discusses a recent study by the European Union and Molson Coors that shows the dry UK weather will have a big affect on barley production.
The article “Barley prices on the rise,” paints a picture of rising beer costs in the US due to pressure on barley producers outside the UK to fill the gap.
A few years ago the price of hops went through the roof, and even though they have settled down a bit, are still fairly high. Hopefully barley won’t have the same problem.
According to the USDA, American barley production is expected to be up by 30% in 2012 and that should hopefully keep the price of malting barley in check. Offsetting this is new EPA approval on higher (15%) ethanol blends. This could also have an affect on barley prices as well as other grains, but mostly affects corn (Idaho barley commission, 2012).
Worldwide production was at a 40 year low in 2011, down 17 percent. It is expected to be better this year with US production higher. Usage in 2011 was down 4% and malting barley was significantly down in 2011. Beer consumption was flat in 2010 which caused some of the lack of planting (Idaho Barley Commission, 2011).
Lets hope beer production picks up soon, the high prices aren’t helping though. In Las Vegas, the cost of a six pack of beer is slowly rising with many microbrews at about $7.99 – $9.99.
Idaho Barley Commission. (2011, March). Global grain marketing outlook march 2011. Retrieved from http://barley.idaho.gov/pdf/global_market/032011.pdf
Idaho barley commission. (2012, March 30). Retrieved from http://barley.idaho.gov/pdf/newsbrief/032012.pdf