College students everywhere are starting to feel the push for alternative energy right in their own pockets. Those who enjoyed Bud Light may have to resort to “The Beast” just to make ends meet. The movement to plant more crops to help produce bio-diesel is taking precious resources away from barley production. With less barely being produced both in America and Europe it is having an effect on beer prices around the world.
In the last two years, the price of barley has doubled to $271 per ton as farmers plant more crops such as rapeseed and corn that can be turned into ethanol or biodiesel, a fuel made from vegetable oil.
As a result, the price for the key ingredient in beer, barley malt, or barley that has been allowed to germinate, has soared by more than 40 percent, to around 385 euros or $522 per ton, from around 270 euros a ton two years ago, according to the Bavarian Brewers’ Association.
Some current increases:
- The U.S. – 3.8%
- U.K. – Reports of 3.9%
- Germany – A liter at Oktoberfest is now $10.90
- Netherlands – Heineken expects a 7-8% increase
The cost of cleaner energy comes in many forms. First it is something as trivial as beer prices, but with so much pressure to produce more plant material to make this fuel, what is affected next? We already saw an increase in tortilla prices when corn production in Mexico was shifting toward biofuels instead of food products. Even the United Nations has released a report saying that by diverting production toward fuel generation it will drive the prices of some basic food commodities up.
You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
There will always be something for people to complain about. Right now, it is the price of gas. In an effort to curb our reliance on oil we are pushing for an increased use of bioenergy, which in turn takes precious resources away from basic food staples and will increase the price. Then people will complain about that, and even more importantly, this higher cost will affect the people who don’t even use much gas; the poor who need to feed their families.
But don’t fear I have the perfect solution for this, brew your own beer. Check out that article and the three others, here, here, and here I have layed out everything you need to know to help you save money by brewing your own bear. Everything from the wort chiller and other equipment you will need to bottling it all up in the end.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.