It has not been a good summer for beer in Europe.
First, the U.K. had to ration beer during the World Cup because of a carbon dioxide shortage. Now brewers are bracing for a barley shortage after a continent-wide heatwave shriveled up the crop. Some yields might be as much as 40% below average, driving up costs for producers that may be passed down to consumers.
Europe isn’t the only continent that’s suffering. This summer has seen record temperatures in countries around the globe and commodity prices are rising everywhere. North Korea called this summer’s heatwave an “unprecedented natural disaster” and called on citizens to wage an “all-out battle” to try to save some crops.
The European Union is expected to have a malting barley shortage of nearly 500,000 metric tons. That supply shortage is already having an effect on prices. The price of French barley has shot up by 35% since April.
It’s not just beer either. The price of gin and whiskey, also made with barley, may shoot up as well. A cold snap early in the year followed by a heatwave in the summer is leading farmers to warn that European consumers may see rising prices this fall. The weather is putting pressure on potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, peas, and carrots among other goods.
It’s not all bad news though. Vintners are saying the unusually hot summer will be great for wine—both in terms of quality and quantity.