The CEO of Japanese brewing company Asahi, Atsushi Katsuki, has issued a warning that climate change could lead to beer shortages. In an interview with the Financial Times, Katsuki mentioned that a study conducted by his company revealed that rising temperatures would have a detrimental impact on barley and hops yields in major producing countries, potentially causing a global deficit of beer production.
According to Asahi’s analysis, if the world warms by four degrees under the UN’s worst-case scenario, France’s spring barley harvest could decline by 18% and Poland’s harvest could shrink by 15% by 2050. The Czech Republic, one of the world’s largest hop producers, would also face a 25% decline in the quality of hops, a key ingredient in beer flavoring and preservation. These decreases in crop yields would significantly impact beer production worldwide.
Even under a less extreme climate scenario with warming below two degrees, France and Poland would still experience declines in barley harvests, with projected decreases of 10% and 9% respectively. Additionally, the Czech Republic would see a 13% decrease in the quality of hops. These projected impacts highlight the vulnerability of the beer industry to climate change.
Katsuki emphasized the potential severity of the situation, stating, “Although with hotter weather the consumption of beer may grow and become an opportunity for us, climate change will have a serious impact. There is a risk that we may not be able to produce enough beer.” This highlights the need for collective action to mitigate climate change risks and protect beer production.
The effects of climate change on barley prices have already been significant, surpassing the impacts of the conflict in Ukraine. Fluctuations in weather have negatively affected barley harvests in recent years, resulting in record-high prices for European malt and malting barley. While barley prices have somewhat stabilized, this year’s crop still remains $106 per ton above the average in previous years. These soaring prices are putting pressure on brewers, prompting them to invest in regenerative agriculture to make crops more resilient to extreme weather events.
Asahi’s warning of potential beer shortages due to climate change underscores the urgency for the beer industry and society as a whole to address and mitigate the risks posed by global warming. Collective efforts are necessary to protect the production and availability of one of the world’s most beloved beverages.
In conclusion, the CEO of Asahi, Atsushi Katsuki, has highlighted the potential for beer shortages caused by climate change. Rising temperatures could negatively impact barley and hops yields, leading to declines in beer production worldwide. These projections emphasize the need for collaborative action to mitigate climate change risks and protect the beer industry.