Climate Bombshell: No Ice-Cold Beer to Cool Us Down as Planet Earth Boils Over



When all else fails on the climate fearmongering front, try warning that beer shortages are likely in the near future. The Financial Times reports that the Chief Executive of the Japanese brewer Asahi, Atsushi Katsuki, says climate change could lead to beer shortages as warmer temperatures hit barley and hop supplies around the world. Fortune goes into full climate tragedy mode, noting: “Beer could face an existential crisis.” Needless to say, missing from all this doomsday drivel is a note that barley is the most adaptable cereal and can grow in many areas from the sub-tropics to the Arctic. Meanwhile, world hop production has never been in better health with global acreage rising in 2021 for the eighth year in succession.

This is not the first time the booze gets it in the climate crisis, with the need to constantly supply political messaging to promote Net Zero. Earlier this year, America celebrated National Margarita Day with CNN warning that climate change could be coming for the seemingly luckless libation. Behind the scare was some made-up nonsense about the weather affecting the ingredients going into tequila, despite the fact that since 1995 tequila production has increased six-fold, and from 2018 it has doubled.

Pushing the beer scare, the Asahi boss spoke of significant falls in the barley harvest and the quality of hops under the “UN’s four degrees scenario”. This assumption from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is used to posit a rise of nearly 3°C in less than 30 years, a ‘pathway’ that is an insult to scientific realism given that global temperatures have barely risen by 0.2°C over the last 25 years. Perhaps Mr. Katsuki was imbibing a little too freely of his excellent product when he told the FT that volatile weather has already interfered with barley yields in recent years. Curiously he added that climate change “had a bigger impact on the price of barley than even Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.

A great deal of barley ends up with brewers, and with important sectors like beer considered a mature business, with steady rather than spectacular growth, the demand for the grain is fairly constant. Like all harvests it can be affected by local weather conditions but the Statistica graph above shows a steady trend with 2020-21 posting a record total of 160.91 million metric tons. If there are to be dramatic shortages in barley going forward due to climate change, they have yet to show up in the production record. Meanwhile, the situation in Ukraine is of particular concern since it is one of the world’s top producers of the crop.

Barley is a versatile global grain and ranks fourth in both quantity produced and area of cultivation. It is much prized because it is so versatile and can thrive in regions where cereals such as maize and rice do not grow well. According to the agricultural scientist Meixue Zhou, it grows in areas up to the Arctic, along with near desert areas such as North Africa. Other areas where it can thrive include those with a Mediterranean climate, as well as those with oceanic and continental features. In the United States, barley can be grown from the northern tip of Maine down to southern Florida, Texas and much of California. Throughout human history it has played an important part in both food production – humans and animal – and brewing, due to its tolerance of aridity and salinity along with adaptability to weather.

Over on the hop front, two countries – Germany and the United States – account for 77% of world hop acreage, according to Craft Brewing Business, quoting from the BarthHass Report 2021-2022. Alpha acid content is an important factor in beer flavouring, and volumes of this prized ingredient in recent years are said to be at their “highest levels yet”. In the FT, Mr. Katasuki, noted the role hops played in flavouring beer, but claimed that analysis conducted by his company found global warming meant the quality of hops would reduce “significantly” over the next three decades.

In the meantime, the recent problems for the hop growing business are somewhat different to those forecast by Katasuki. “Production cost increases and over-production are a dangerous combination presenting the hop industry with huge challenges. The global hop industry can only counter excess production by adjusting acreage,” observes Peter Hintermeier, of BarthHaas.

Perhaps the Asahi boss gets extra ESG points for pumping out climate fear stories. Back in the real world, with shareholders to keep sweet, he seems to be somewhat more bullish about the future, telling the FT that he hopes to have the brands Asahi Super Dry and Peroni Nastro Azzurro established in the global top 10 by 2030. The company intends to reduce debt by not making further acquisitions until next year, but from 2025, “we’ll be able to become more aggressive in investment again”. Big plans are being made in the U.S., although he suggests that acquiring smaller craft brewers will not achieve the goal of having “wide reach throughout the region”.

While we can, we must all raise a glass to such positive plans for future global expansion.

Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.

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September 26, 2023 10:05 am

Well, increased CO2 may or may not be causing global warming, but it has been proven to help crop yields.

Reply to  Globaltrvlr
September 26, 2023 10:17 am

Next they’ll be saying we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.

Ron Long
Reply to  Scissor
September 26, 2023 12:00 pm

Hotel California; you can check out but never leave.

Reply to  Ron Long
September 26, 2023 1:15 pm

Happened once in a pub in Australia.

Still sing songs about it

Reply to  Globaltrvlr
September 26, 2023 10:43 pm

Except that the climate will be so hot barley farmers won’t be able to work in the excessive heat. Afterall, to save the planet, air conditioners need to be sacrificed (except for politicians and the privileged classes), and climate-controlled tractors will be a thing of the past. Come to think of it, farmers will be using horses, so there will be nothing to run air conditioners anyway. Probably horses won’t be able to withstand the heat either, and we’ll have to increase our herds of unicorns to pull our plows.

We’re doomed.

Reply to  Ex-KaliforniaKook
September 27, 2023 9:35 pm


Reply to  jtom
September 27, 2023 9:36 pm

And those plows will be wooden. Steel requires coking coal.

September 26, 2023 10:15 am

Less beer may not help humanity survive longer but it will seem longer.

Reply to  Giving_Cat
September 26, 2023 10:24 am

Benjamin Franklin reportedly said that beer is proof that God loves us.

Reply to  Scissor
September 26, 2023 10:29 am

“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Scissor
September 26, 2023 11:11 am

They say about beer, “Looks the same coming out as going in.”

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
September 26, 2023 2:49 pm

Beer, you don’t buy it, you just rent it.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
September 26, 2023 2:50 pm

Some poor saps pour from a mini 50 mL bottle.

Reply to  Scissor
September 26, 2023 12:05 pm

…. or loves his beer!

Reply to  Scissor
September 27, 2023 9:39 pm

In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.

Rod Evans
September 26, 2023 10:33 am

Well, that definitely does it. I must make sure I drink as much beer as possible over the coming years while it is readily available. Don’t leave it too late folks. Support CAMRA as often as possible by visiting the local real ale outlets. I am happy to report in my area of the UK west midlands we have a very thriving small brewery industry with more brands and brewers than there has ever been in my lifetime. We do our best to show support where we can, and at no point has any one suggested there might be a shortage of brewing ingredients?
We can put this latest attempt to introduce a new anxiety into the faux climate crisis as, desperation.
Not to be considered an alarmist laggard, the Daily Telegraph have gone with ‘bird flu threat to Antarctic penguins’ today. Tomorrow they might revisit monkey pox threatening the gorilla population, or maybe not as gorillas are apes like us and would not want to be associated with monkeys or their pox……

Reply to  Rod Evans
September 26, 2023 7:04 pm

Maybe they should consider stopping growing corn for car ethanol, (totally unnecessary)…

… and grow barley for human ethanol instead..

Or are climate requirements too different… (not a farmer)

Reply to  bnice2000
September 27, 2023 4:41 pm

I was just on vacation in Utah and was surprised to see that many gas stations promoted no ethanol blends that you could buy. I didn’t know any where in the US wasn’t subject to the nonsense of ethanol-added fuel. It replaced the formerly mandated MTBE as an oxygenator for fuel. MTBE was one of the most toxic chemicals ever invented and destroyed the water supplies in many towns. Usually, whatever government mandates turns out to be bad for everyone.

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  spren
September 30, 2023 4:30 pm

G’Day Spren,


And “MBTE” replaced an anti-knock additive which contained lead. The recently departed Senator from California was an outspoken advocate of MBTE.

Curious George
September 26, 2023 10:43 am

Why don’t we replace CO2 in beer foam with something more progressive?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Curious George
September 26, 2023 10:51 am

How about Freon?

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
September 26, 2023 10:58 am


Reply to  strativarius
September 26, 2023 12:04 pm


Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  strativarius
September 26, 2023 12:07 pm

nitrous oxide (laughing gas) 🙂

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 26, 2023 2:23 pm

Don’t laugh, I know many college kids who have charged kegs with nitrous. It is only about 63% as soluble as CO2, but it still adds a kick (I’m told).

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 26, 2023 9:10 pm

Careful there Joseph as you’re stepping into dangerous misogynistic climate change territory-
Taking gas and air away from women in labour to stop climate change is sexist nonsense (
Might have to be rationed for you know who-
Psychologist tells climate activists ‘being miserable won’t save the planet’ (

More Soylent Green!
September 26, 2023 10:51 am

Let’s draw an imaginary trend line on a hypothetical graph, pretend it’s factual and try to scare people in hysterical climate action.

More Soylent Green!
September 26, 2023 10:52 am

Just suppose we suck CO2 from the atmosphere and use it to carbonate beer? Is that Net-Zero enough?

BTW – Isn’t that exactly what plants and brewers yeast actually do?

Reply to  More Soylent Green!
September 26, 2023 6:29 pm

I worry more about my next-morning methane emissions from a night on the hops than I do about the CO2 emitted in supplying me with my addiction to beers.

September 26, 2023 10:57 am

The only year that ran out of beer was 1976….

Nothing else has come close

Reply to  strativarius
September 26, 2023 11:16 am

Billy Beer!

Reply to  Giving_Cat
September 26, 2023 11:51 am

Did you not get it? There was no beer… it ran out…

Reply to  strativarius
September 27, 2023 4:44 pm

There was plenty of beer where I lived and traveled.

Rud Istvan
September 26, 2023 11:00 am

The Asahi CEO should sample his own products less.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 26, 2023 2:55 pm

I had occasion to tour the Asahi brewery outside of Tokyo and their damn pretzel mix had little dried fish in it. Nasty stuff.

Reply to  Scissor
September 26, 2023 7:55 pm

Great stuff!!!
Bowls of peanuts and “ikan bilis” are a standard complimentary bar snack in many parts of SE Asia.
Also an essential accompaniment to a plate of Nasi Lemak.

Krishna Gans
September 26, 2023 11:04 am

Where the first beer has been brewed ?
3000 BC in Sumerian people.

Joseph Zorzin
September 26, 2023 12:03 pm

“climate change could….”

I stopped there.

Kit P
September 26, 2023 12:06 pm

I belong to a drinking club with a boating problem.
After the last regatta we enjoyed Rolling Dock beer.

Hops are grown in Washington State. My casual observation of the US farming community indicates lack of market is their biggest problem.

It is a little know fact that PNW wheat farmers have secretly been influencing Russian elections to promote more planting of land mines in Ukraine.

September 26, 2023 12:13 pm

If we’re going into full carbon doomsday mode, let’s ban the bubbles in the beer. They’re carbon dioxide, which is going to kill us all. In the World of the Future, only flat beer will be allowed. Flat champagne, and flat soda pop, too, and unleavened bread with all the culinary appeal of a brick. Pancakes, waffles and muffins that are light and fluffy? Not on your life! Or on the life of any penguin, polar bear, puffin, or pachyderm.

Any byproduct CO2 emitted during any food or beverage-making process will have to be sequestered, and buried deep inside the earth where it can never, never escape.

Otherwise? Well, you know. . .

Reply to  tom_gelsthorpe
September 26, 2023 1:16 pm

Or do what they really want to do, which is to end all living things: CO2 <=> Life

September 26, 2023 2:33 pm

This could be right, if they were looking at the issue through Bud Light metrics.

Jim Masterson
September 26, 2023 2:43 pm

They tried this same scare tactic with corn. They said that a warming climate would move the US corn belt north to less fertile Canadian lands. Since corn is a tropical plant, any warming trend would expand the corn belt. Also, corn is a hybrid, and the seed producers can easily keep up with a slowly warming climate–if it actually occurs.

John in Oz
September 26, 2023 4:01 pm

If one wishes to scare the general public then the (possible, maybe, could, suggestion of) loss of items that they care about is necessary.

Not many people see or affected by reduced whale numbers, most will not get to see the Barrier Reef but put beer (or other generally relished comestible) at risk then perhaps they will get on the band-wagon and agree with Nut Zero

Paul Hurley
September 26, 2023 4:22 pm

This scare has been around for a while…

September 26, 2023 4:25 pm

When science works against you, lie.

Tombstone Gabby
September 26, 2023 6:07 pm

When was beer invented? Or wine? Man has had alcoholic beverages of one kind or another for a long long time. “Cheers”.

John Hultquist
September 26, 2023 7:40 pm

Washington State is the nation’s #1 hop producer, followed by Oregon at #2, and Idaho at #3; that is, the Pacific Northwest. These three states have over 99% of the nation’s hop acreage and about 25% of worldwide acreage.
In the US, beer sales have stagnated or declined as other beverages have grown, hard seltzers and kombucha, and cider.
Hope growers have down-sized some to reflect these trends.
Weather does impact harvests – that’s not news.

DD More
Reply to  John Hultquist
September 27, 2023 10:41 am

And from a brew site – A pound of hops will yield about 48 ounces of hops. This is enough to make about 24 gallons of beer.

So it doesn’t take a lot of hops per gallon of beer.

September 26, 2023 11:41 pm

David McCallum obituary | Television | The Guardian

One of my favourites. RIP: Man from Uncle, Ducky, et al. 🙁

September 27, 2023 4:36 pm

Just wait until the climate cultists try to ban beer (and sodas) because they emit CO2. I think they haven’t yet done that because they are afraid of a revolution and that they may find themselves decorating light poles.

September 27, 2023 9:43 pm

Just a matter of time before they claim climate change will kill all the marijuana crops. That would rattle a lot of people!

September 28, 2023 9:40 am

No attack on brewing which requires plenty of energy for mashing and boiling and produces a ton of c02….just attack on refrigerating beer! Nuts!

Big deal, who needs a cold ale? Bottle conditioned ales are awesome at cellar temperatures. So grow apples and make cider to drink in the winter months and make Ale to drink at cellar temps during the summer. no brainer. The Green Regime corrupt imposition becomes the mother of invention. When will they learn?

Really who is going to take our ice cubes away? This s just plain nuts. I’ll have to build an 19th c ice pond and build a ice cellar and harvest ice to store for the non-freezing season…. the rest of the county will just have to swelter. LOL..

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