Brewers Strike Back at Fake “End of Beer” Climate Change News

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Brewers acknowledge climate change might have an impact, but point out that if global warming causes a problem in one region they can just buy their inputs from somewhere else.


October 16, 2018
By Bart Watson & Chris Swersey

Beer has been around a long time. New research from Stanford University has uncovered a 13,000-year old beer-brewing operation near what is now Haifa, Israel. And throughout that 13,000-year history, beer has evolved, starting with where the grains for that beer were grown. That’s the primary reason why, although climate change certainly poses future supply chain challenges for beer, the beer industry is well positioned to evolve even as the global climate shifts.

A new paper has gained significant media traction this week by suggesting that beer prices may increase and, as a result, total beer sales may decline significantly as climate changes threaten yields in current barley growing regions. But luckily, this paper is largely an academic exercise and not one that brewers or beer lovers should lose any sleep over. The beer industry certainly understands and is already preparing for shifts in climate. Here are three signs that beer is actively preparing for changes in climate…

1. Barley crop production geography shifts over time

Although the paper in question assumes that “the current geographical distribution and area of barley cultivation” stays the same, anyone who has watched barley markets over time knows that doesn’t make any sense given historical trends. Barley crops have long shifted around the world due to a variety of factors, including climatic conditions and competition with other crops. For North America, the chart below shows Canadian production as a % of the N. American crop, demonstrating the clear northern migration of Barley in North America (Sources: USDA-NASS and Statistics Canada).

So in N. America, we’ve averaged a 1.4% yield increase year over year for 7.5 decades. Yes, extreme events pose challenges (and you can see some bad years in that graph), but even at a worst case of -17% effect on yields, that’s equivalent to the average yield increase barley farmers have achieved every 11 years on average. Put differently, a -17% yield from climate change in 2099 is small in the context of yields that go up 17% every 11 years. At 1.4%, we’re looking at yields predicted to be 218% higher in 2099 based on the historical data. Now, we’re not agronomists, so it’s possible yield increases can’t keep that pace – but the yield decreases anticipated in the paper are very small compared to what the historical data predicts about increases over time.

Read more:

As the Brewers Association points out, the key bad assumption of this “end of beer” study is that farmers will not attempt to adapt to a changing climate – that they will keep trying to grow exactly the same crops they grow today, even if those crops stop producing good yields.

As an “academic exercise” such studies have their place. Scientists often try to fix as many variables as they can, to see what impact the variable they are studying has on outcomes.

What is completely unreasonable is to try to infer real world outcomes from an unrealistic fixed variable study.

In the real world farmers adapt – if a warming climate damages yields, they do some research and plant something else, usually in a test field at first, then on a larger scale if the new crop produces better profits.

All that will happen in the real world, if substantial global warming occurs, is that barley growing regions will shift a few hundred miles North. Farmers who grow barley on the Southern edge of the current growing region would switch to other crops. Farmers to the North of the current growing region would start planting Barley.

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Joel O'Bryan
October 17, 2018 3:10 pm

That barley production in the real world was not under threat from Climate Change should have been obvious to anyone not under the spell of the Climate Koolaid intoxication.

I’m more worried about coffee and coffee plant rust (a fungus). I’m not sure which I’d dread more, no coffee in morning or no beer in the evening.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 17, 2018 5:46 pm

Just the current variations in geographical regions should tell any sensible person that the effects on beer are probably non-existent. Barley is grown nearly world wide, from the cold damp of Scotland (can be used to make whisky) to the hot aridity of Australia. The climate variation is immense.

Reply to  r
October 18, 2018 12:02 am

From the graph above and the usual correlation = causation logic I would conclude that barley production is caused by CO2 and that by the end of the century the whole world will be covered with barely 6 metres deep.

I would certainly expect that CO2 fertisation is a factor in the growth and probably helping the plant grow in conditions which were previously too arid for it to survive under lower atm CO2 levels.

The alarmist just do not seem to realise that when you start to lose credibility the best thing to do is to back off rather than double down on the stupid,exaggerated claims.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Greg
October 18, 2018 4:02 am

Greg, great “catch” concerning the “CO2- barley” increase correlation.

And here is another “correlation = causation” logic I spotted, to wit:

Excerpted from above quoted commentary by Bart Watson & Chris Swersey

but even at a worst case of -17% effect on yields, that’s equivalent to the average yield increase barley farmers have achieved every 11 years on average.

Thus it seems the average yield increase in barley production is directly correlated to the “11 year Solar Cycle” 🙂

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 17, 2018 6:42 pm

While the recipe for Coffee has remained relatively unchanged since it’s inception (grow, harvest, roast, grind, brew), beer recipes have changed much in the last 130 centuries and are quite varied today. The worst that would happen, if barley production slowly dropped by 17% over the next 80 years, would be yet another slight variance to the Beer Recipes currently in production.

Nigel Sherratt
Reply to  Bryan A
October 18, 2018 2:45 am

Read somewhere (here perhaps?) that alcohol was responsible for development of farming and coffee for the Enlightenment. Nice ideas anyway which I enjoyed contemplating whilst visiting Handel/Hendrix museum in Brook Street.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nigel Sherratt
October 18, 2018 9:44 am

And Kahlua is the marriage of both

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 18, 2018 12:03 am

The Greens are habitual liars – nobody should believe or trust THEM!


I am not familiar with this group, but there are so many of them. They are typically dishonest – “any lie is OK, if it supports the Cause”.

As a general observation:
Global warming alarmism is the new “front” for economic Marxists, who were discredited after the fall of the Soviet Union circa 1990.

Read Dr. Patrick Moore’s essay, “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement”, written in 1994, especially “The Rise of Eco-Extremism”

I have corresponded with Patrick on this essay and I think he “nailed it”. So did he.

Regards, Allan

October 18, 2018 11:15 am

Once beer is made it begins it’s own cycle of life, returning beautiful CO2 to the atmosphere along with some methane after a brief delay. If only this had the effect of warming the planet as they keep promising us. Then we would drink more beer in the heat and we would have an actual tipping point!

Peter Plail
Reply to  john
October 18, 2018 12:58 pm

I prefer a tipping pint.

October 17, 2018 3:10 pm

This post is making me thirsty.

Reply to  u.k.(us)
October 18, 2018 7:11 am

At least in the US, beer has gone thru a revolution. The old “major” beer producers are gradually going by the wayside & the new medium/micro breweries are coming to the fore. Their beers are much better, especially IMHO the IPAs.

Reply to  beng135
October 18, 2018 8:56 am

“The old “major” beer producers are gradually going by the wayside & the new medium/micro breweries are coming to the fore.”
Not so much. The old majors are buying up the medium/micro breweries by the fistfuls. The good news is that they almost always leave the microbrewery management and creative thought process alone – as well as the name – allowing great beer to continue to be created and produced. Still scary, but leaves us with great beer.
And remember – if the majors destroy the company the bought, another dozen will be born!

Reply to  KaliforniaKook
October 18, 2018 11:18 am

When big business buys small business, they always destroy it. They don’t always mean to but the mentality is completely different. It’s like brain damaged lions keeping beautiful gazelles as pets.

Reply to  john
October 18, 2018 11:47 am

The novelty wears off for all but a lucky few.

October 17, 2018 3:13 pm

SHOULD be more worried about power and production prices going up, affecting the beer price c/o unreliables (wind/solar) and carbon dioxide taxes.

Bryan A
Reply to  Jamie Spry
October 17, 2018 6:44 pm

Beer should be exempt from carbon dioxide taxation as it is a carbon sink (at least until you open the bottle)

Reply to  Jamie Spry
October 18, 2018 5:02 am

The biggest worry is hops. With more and more corn grown for ethanol other crops are being pushed out. Hops are grown in a narrow geographic band around the world and do not thrive outside of it. With out hops we have no beer.

Reply to  yjimy
October 18, 2018 7:40 am

I wouldn’t worry at all. Cultivated crops are selectively bred all the time to adjust to different conditions. The climate isn’t changing enough that hops couldn’t be bred to do so. Of course it’s advantageous to have a genetic diversity in the crop.

Bryan A
Reply to  beng135
October 18, 2018 9:46 am

Yea Hoppy Beer

Reply to  yjimy
October 18, 2018 11:26 am

So the band moves North 20-30 miles. No biggie. Here in Western Canada we have a couple million acres that will open up to agriculture if the temperature ever gets where they say it already is. Lol

October 17, 2018 3:19 pm

And thanks to beer, we got William Sally Gossett, and a statistical way of infering crop quality from small sample analysis.

Reply to  tweak
October 17, 2018 3:20 pm

*Sealy. I blame the phone.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  tweak
October 17, 2018 8:55 pm

You wrote the magic words (duck drops with winner). Mr. Gossett was the Guinness brewing statistician, wrote under the pen name of “Student”, as Student’s “t” distribution for small samples. For a good read, get ‘The Lady Tasting Tea”.
The title is based on the encounter at a tea party with turn of 20th century statisticians. The lady claimed she could taste the difference between milk into the teacup before hot tea versus the opposite. No spoiler from me. You all will have to read the book to find out.

Linda Goodman
October 17, 2018 3:31 pm

“Brewers acknowledge climate change might have an impact…” This refers to natural climate change, over which C02 has essentially no influence, right?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 17, 2018 5:18 pm

I think what they are saying is they don’t need to prepare.

If there was a need then there would be ample time (years) to react.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 17, 2018 8:34 pm

Don’t you think it is right time to them the cause: natural variability or man-induced variability? Then they can plan accordingly. Unfortunately, we go on presenting the man-induced part and we rarely present the natural variability part. Readers and writers of the articles here could present their local information — published or not — on natural variability part of climate change, more particularly with reference to rainfall/snowfall.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
October 17, 2018 8:36 pm

correction — to them as to tell them


Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
October 18, 2018 11:29 am

If they planned according to predictions, they would be wrong. And you can’t plan for natural variation ( unless the science is actually settled), so they can’t plan.

October 17, 2018 3:59 pm

Maybe it would be useful if every University student here could write the most ridiculous ‘Climate Change™’ paper they can think of. Just do some very basic research/computer modeling to show your assertion(s) as scarily true, submit it and, while keeping the ‘Climate Change™’ parts, change anything to get it through peer review :-0 .
Then after publication reveal it was just written as research to show that by having the ‘Climate Change™’ consensus memes prominent in the body of a paper will hugely assists in getting any paper on any science topic published (no matter how stupid the topic ).

October 17, 2018 4:14 pm

Solution, change the Peer review club members, or set up new ones.

Why put up with such biased bodies.


Bryan A
Reply to  Michael
October 17, 2018 6:48 pm

Yes Mister E that would be a good solution

Stuart Lynne
October 17, 2018 4:57 pm

The functional equivalent of “click bait” to get your research paper some publicity.

paul courtney
October 17, 2018 5:11 pm

So, the Greens failed to anticipate that the Brewers Ass’n dissents. Dammit, now the Greens will have to take over this Association from within, and get on the boards of the Industry publications (you know, the beer reviewed ones). It’ll take years and millions of Mr. Soros’ dollars. Frankly, I think our Green friends are slipping. Couldn’t they anticipate this, and buy off the Brewers ahead of rolling out their street theatre report?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  paul courtney
October 17, 2018 7:36 pm

The Greens have the media in their corner. So The Brewers’s Association press release ends up in the circular file.
It’s how Dis-Information Warfare works. The Left is controlling many of the major media voices so by selective reporting, it’s a matter of “There’s nothing to see here folks, now move along.”

What the Brewer’s Association and Bart Watson, PhD (the writer of this piece for the Brewer’s Association) should do though is make sure their message gets out on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 18, 2018 11:41 am

Do you have any thoughts as to why the media is so dominated by the Left? I can see the journalism majors being bent that way but one would think that ownership would not be and that would influence editorship. I’m no conspiracy buff but it definitely looks like the fix is in.
If we could restore some balance there and redesign the Uni’s we might have more rational public discourse about a lot of things.

Reply to  john
October 18, 2018 11:45 am

The universities need to be redesigned for efficiency sake if nothing else. The cost relative to the quality is atrocious. When we start talking about the social sciences the return is actually negative for many classes and students.

Reply to  john
October 18, 2018 3:56 pm

Social Science students have a clear career path.
‘You want chips with that?’
Then, for a few, shift-leader/manager/district manager etc. etc.

And they have degrees in ‘street theatre’ h/t to paul courtney [above


October 17, 2018 5:45 pm

For over 45 years it has been known that high evening temperatures during barley grain filling results in a higher ratio of assimilated carbon going to other plant tissue than the grain. This despite that timing of higher temperature actually sees the plant’s CO2 uptake being relatively increased (as opposed to when that temperature is “ideal”).

Some of the charted ups & downs of grain weight yield/area grown is probably related to the above. Incidently, this dynamic of higher than ideal evening temperature found back in the early 1970s was reported at the same time for wheat& some other grains too.

In Japan this same grain weight/ area temperature inverse relationship when grain filling is also found. The rice yield (gr/hectare) from northern Japan is greater than from souther Japan; comparing the same kind of rice. I am not parsing any strains or breeding improvements here for any grains.

Jeff Alberts
October 17, 2018 6:01 pm


Fixed it for them.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 18, 2018 11:47 am

Can’t wait til the AGW crowd starts saying we have to give up beer to save the planet. Nothing will save them!

nw sage
October 17, 2018 6:16 pm

‘”assumes that “the current geographical distribution and area of barley cultivation” stays the same’
reminds me of the OJ Simpson trial where the defense lawyers were always saying “assumes facts not in evidence”
Seems to be the common thread where climate thread is concerned.

Bryan A
Reply to  nw sage
October 17, 2018 6:52 pm

If the Barley’s not fit, you mustn’t quit

nw sage
October 17, 2018 6:18 pm

‘”assumes that “the current geographical distribution and area of barley cultivation” stays the same’
Reminds me of the OJ Simpson trial where the defense lawyers were always saying “assumes facts not in evidence”
Seems to be the common thread where climate thread is concerned.
[trying to edit to correct capitalization]

October 17, 2018 6:26 pm

Climate impacts research is a joke. Almost childish. Hypothetical research questions tested with hypothetical conditions punched into the yet unvalidated Bio-Envelope Model. No surprise that impacts now dominates climate research pubs.

Louis J Hooffstetter
October 17, 2018 6:41 pm

Climate Nazis hate beer because we make a lot of it and it produces a lot of CO2 (possibly more than SUVs and cow farts combined?).

But no worries. When the planet heats up, we’ll just grow our beer making grain in Antarctica.

Reply to  Louis J Hooffstetter
October 17, 2018 8:36 pm

Climate Nazis hate beer because … it produces a lot of CO2 …

They hate it more because it makes people happy. They hate people.

E J Zuiderwijk
Reply to  commieBob
October 18, 2018 2:02 am

Spot on Bob. Happy people are not easily scared and therefore not easily controlled. Forbidding pleasurable things, from procreational activities to recreational pursuits, have always been the signature element of religions and dictatorships.

David Hood
October 17, 2018 7:59 pm

I’m taking NO risks – I’m stock-piling a supply now – which is what I have been doing over the last decade or three – as my waste line attests.

Reply to  David Hood
October 18, 2018 11:38 am

I have been stockpiling beer for years. And somehow, mysteriously, my stockpile disappears. I wonder what keeps happening to it? *burp*

October 17, 2018 9:38 pm

I read the first two words of the title and my heart started fibrillating violently – “Brewers Strike ……”

Hans Erren
October 17, 2018 10:08 pm

Please explain the title of the graph, it makes no sense.

Reply to  Hans Erren
October 18, 2018 6:06 am

Yes – could someone please do that? I too would like to know.

michael hart
October 17, 2018 11:20 pm

Global warming should be a slam-dunk for brewers anyway. As any fule kno, when the temperature is ratchited up, so too will beer consumption rise commensurately as the afflicted seek to slake their thirst.

Multiply that by the extra need for ethanolic self-medication caused by MSM-induced mass panic. And as the media warnings of the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it rise to a scream, people will need to drink ever larger amounts of beer in the hope of achieving momentary escape from the cacophony of idiots telling us to save the planet again.

Peta of Newark
October 18, 2018 1:32 am

The human animal cannot lie, although it thinks it can when it is looking forward to a drink or is actually drunk.

Beer brewers are no exception, they are running scared..

It was the sight of intoxicated older people that helped put Liam, from Dagenham, east London, off drinking for life. One occasion when he had to put his parents’ inebriated friends to bed convinced him that “there is no pretty drunk”.

From here:

Also, from The Independent via my MSN login page so no direct link:

But whatever your age, there are certain signs of functioning alcoholism to look out for. Experts use the acronym CAGE.

C – Cutting down – have you ever thought you should probably drink less?
A – Annoyance – do you ever get annoyed by people nagging you about your drinking?
G – Guilt – do you ever feel guilty about your drinking or what you do as a result?
E – Eye-opener – do you ever feel like you need a drink to feel better, especially in the morning to relax?

According to Dr Mohioddi, answering yes to just a couple of the above could suggest you have a problem with alcohol.

From the World Health Organisation:

Alcohol is responsible for more than 5% of all deaths worldwide, or around 3 million a year, new figures have revealed.

The data, part of a report from the World Health Organization, shows that about 2.3 million of those deaths in 2016 were of men, and that almost 29% of all alcohol-caused deaths were down to injuries – including traffic accidents and suicide.

Kinda makes the Current Climate Change Calamity look, shall we say, a bit trivial?

And from me:
Something in my past switched on a gene within me that caused my blood to clot much more readily than it should. I had a stroke age 45. (Deep Vein Thrombosis in even very young people????)
Was that trigger nicotine, alcohol or something I was exposed to, chemical or biological, in my vocation as a farmer.
No matter.
The ciggies and booze had to go and I have tried to research and understand what did happen to me.

One definite conclusion I have formed though is:

Never (never never ever) enter into ANY sort of long-term financial or personal relationship with someone/anyone who drinks ANY amount of alcohol

Hence= Soaring divorce rates. How many marriages initiate and happen when both parties drink, only for the woman to stop when she has a child?
I know its hard for boys to understand to understand but babies provide girls with Dopamine. Dopamine she was previously getting from the booze.
Alcohol drinkers will invariably point to the words ‘recommended limit’ as used by their doctors. Always strange how the word ‘limit’ is omitted and it is assumed that doctors give a green light to alcohol.

Your mileage will vary, try to be sure its not alcohol that’s making it ‘variable’

E J Zuiderwijk
October 18, 2018 1:55 am

‘Nature always finds a way’ (Ian Malcolm, chaos theorist)

Eh, humans always find a way to brew a pint. Rejoice!

October 18, 2018 3:45 am

Academia snobs tend to think that most of the population is ignorant while they are all knowing. Basing their study on farmers always planting the same crop in the same place is very ignorant as some here has indicated. Modern farmers are actually scientists. They are college graduates with knowledge in soil science, meteorology, hydrology, pest management, genetics, mechanical engineering and many other topics necessary to be successful. They even read scientific papers concerning their business of growing food for others. Climate “scientists” continuing to justify their research results by making things of which they have little or no knowledge a constant instead of a variable is a major fault of most climate papers. They must believe that farmers are stupid and will continue to do nothing new as the climate/weather changes to achieve their results. Who is the stupid ones?

Lois Johnson
October 18, 2018 6:16 am

“I like beer, I still like beer.” SC JUSTICE Brett Kavanaugh

October 18, 2018 9:46 am

Barley is grown from Canada, through India and in most parts of Australia. That’s a pretty wide range of climates.

I think my pint of Directors Bitter is safe for the foreseeable future.

Reply to  Clovis Marcos
October 18, 2018 4:06 pm

I remember drinking too much Directors one night in 1972.

No early rise for me the next day! Bad – Baaad – hangover, I fear

Never overindulged in Directors ever after, though!

Derek Colman
October 18, 2018 5:03 pm

Now you tell me, after I have filled the cupboard under the stairs with cans of beer to see me through.

October 18, 2018 5:14 pm

The Brewers must be really laughing at this one.
Under the RCP8.5 scenario, the global average yields are forecast to decline on average 17%. But Fig 2 a) is a global map showing the wide variation. For instance around Calgary and Saskatoon in Canada the declines are about the global average. On the Canadian / US border there is no change, whilst in parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota yields could double. So the dumb Canadian farmers will keep on producing despite mounting loses, and the dumb Montanan and Dakotan farmers will fail to increase production despite mounting profits.
Then there is the cost of 500ml bottle of beer. In the UK it is currently about $2.35 and in Ireland about $2.70. The difference is down to the higher taxes in Ireland. By 2100 the paper predicts that the price in the UK will rise by $1.90 and in Ireland by $4.84. Much of the beer sold is by international brewers produced in the UK or mainland Europe for both the UK and Ireland. Yet the brewers will not try to take advantage of the >$2.00 price differential that had opened up between the two countries? Supermarkets, with stores in both countries, would also take advantage of the price differential to make extra profits and there will being no competitors trying to take advantage to grab a piece of the action?
This article is that bad it is worth forking out $8.99 to read it for yourselves.

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