Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's your thirst worth?

If you've been following the news lately, you've likely heard about the skyrocketing prices of grain and other crops and the severe food shortages in places like Korea and Haiti.

But you may not know that your favorite frosty beverage is also imperiled. That's right... a beer famine might be next, according to environmental experts. Climate change is affecting barley yields, and is already threatening the Australian beer industry.

But the problem is not limited to Australia. Growing demand for biofuels and a poor harvest have already increased malting barley prices in the UK, according to the British Beer and Pub Association, and a shortage of hops is increasing the price of a pint in North America as well.

We're already living in a world where a gallon of gas costs nearly $4, which is now the same price as a loaf of organic bread. A gallon of organic milk is nearly twice that.

So what's a little liquid relief going to cost now? At the Whole Foods Market Bowery Beer Room in New York, draught beers range from $6.99 to $13.99 for 64oz. The Heartland Brewery serves 23oz. draughts for $8.50. A 6-pack of 12 oz. bottles of Amstel Light at D'Agostino's is up to $9.99.

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