Is the ethanol lobby prepared to be the grinch of Christmas present? According to a recent article in The Economist, growing more profitable corn (for the ethanol market ) turned many Pacific Northwest farmers away from hops and barley and onto corn. Therefore, small beer brewers are having a hard time finding enough hops to make their beer. This in turn, is making some beers more expensive or simply not available. A Santa without beer? Tragedy.
According to the article, hop prices for at least one small brewer jumped up to five times as expensive as before. While larger beermakers have long-term contracts that have sheltered them thus far, The Economist writes that, "Without their supply of hops, some smaller producers are going out of business, bringing to a halt the fastest-growing segment of the industry. Other craft brewers and brewpubs are experimenting with new recipes, hoping their customers will adapt."

The shift away from beer crops is not the only thing that threatens small breweries at the present time, but who knew that filing the tank with ethanol could have such wide-ranging effects? Merry Christmas!

[Source: The Economist via TTAC]

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