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Author Topic: Barley Crop Freeze  (Read 4672 times)

Offline blisster

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Barley Crop Freeze
« on: September 29, 2014, 12:06:49 PM »


EDMONTON -- Craft beer prices are expected to rise as Alberta farmers, malters and brewers struggle with frozen barley crops.

A brisk early-September cold snap saw a chunk of barley crops in the province freeze, meaning malters will be forced to pay higher prices during a barley shortage that will also hit brewers and Albertans sipping locally brewed suds.

"Anytime there's a problem with crops -- we've had drought, crops rained out -- prices go up," said Neil Herbst, co-owner of Edmonton-based Alley Kat Brewery.

But Herbst predicts any increase will be slight.

"I don't expect people to be paying double for their beer or anything like that."

Herbst said the malt component of their brew is a smaller factor compared to the cost of labour, packaging and taxes.

Bob Sutton, vice-president at Alberta's Rahr Malting, said the big question is the quality of the malt, a product made from germinating and drying cereal grains.

"To any brewer, it's going to mean a shortage of high-quality barley -- the stuff that's easy to malt. Prices are going to be moving upwards as the processors, like ourselves, are bidding for the barley that's out there," he said.

One of four major malters in Canada, Rahr Malting buys more than 180,000 tonnes of barley annually, which can produce 140,000 tonnes of malt that is then sent to brewers across North America. As there's only about a nickel's worth of malt per beer bottle and Alberta is coming off a record 2013 harvest that drove prices down, Sutton said he doesn't expect to see a large jump in prices.

"Nobody panic. This is quite natural for us to see this. It's not so natural to see snow and frost this early, but it's something we've had to deal with in the past to make sure there's no shortage of beer."

Brian Otto, chair of the Barley Council of Canada, said the cold snap didn't hurt the crops at his farm in the southern part of the province, but farmers further north will have a bigger challenge.

"Really I don't think anyone knows the severity yet or if there is damage to start with at this point."

Canadian farmers are on track to produce just 7.2 million tonnes of barley this fall, the smallest crop since 1968.

Give a man a beer and he'll waste an hour, teach him how to brew beer and he'll waste a lifetime.

Offline feldmann

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Re: Barley Crop Freeze
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2014, 03:43:11 PM »
I don't have a link but apparently a large number of crops in the USA received an excess of rain and germinated in the fields.

Offline Kyle

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Re: Barley Crop Freeze
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2014, 07:40:55 AM »
there was a bad crop three or four years ago... prices went up, but not down after.   ::)
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