Trouble Brewing, Climate Change Is Affecting Your Beer

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — There’s trouble brewing for beer makers around the country.

Climate change and intense droughts are making it difficult for breweries to get the crucial ingredients they need to make their customer’s favorite beer.

At one of LA’s  fastest growing breweries, keeping up with demand is a struggle.

“It’s incredibly, incredibly stressful,” said Co-Owner of Frogtown Brewery Mike Voss.

Voss says much of that stress comes from having to hunt for critical ingredients like hops.

Hops are what give beer its flavor and aroma.

Most of the country’s hops are grown in Washington, Oregon and Idaho – states that have suffered increasingly severe droughts in recent years.

That’s crippled crops and leading to shortages.

With the mega beer producers gobbling up most of the supply, smaller craft breweries are left scrambling.

“Every month we try to figure out where we can get what we need to make a particular beer,” said Voss.

And if they don’t find it, he says, “You don’t make the beer.”

Producers are now trying to grow hops in other states but it is a slow process.

“Changes in temperature, changes in how plants grow,” said NASA JPL Climate Scientist Dr. Joshua Fisher.

Fisher says climate change is making droughts more intense.

“We are reaching this kind of tipping point where what we’ve been used to in terms of how much rain we’re gonna get and how plants grow is no longer the norm,” said Fisher.

Shortages have led to higher prices for hops.

Some breweries say they may ultimately have to pass on the cost to consumers.

At Frogtown, they’re using new methods to find ingredients.

“Going out to different distributors, calling up other breweries, asking if they have the stuff we need, the ingredients that we need, begging (laughs) sometimes,” said Co-owner Adam Kestel.

A bitter reality – that could be here to stay.

Dozens of US breweries have now signed a ‘Brewery Climate Declaration’, agreeing to help fight climate change in a number of ways, like using renewable energies in their beer production.

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