To do this weekend: Buy as much beer as you can carry, because prices are about to skyrocket. According to Reuters, Canada — which is the world’s second-largest exporter of malting barley — has harvested its "smallest crop since 1968." Cold, wet weather this year has lead to mass amounts of damage to the Canadian barley crop. Not only is the Canadian crop short this year, the American crop is small too: Farmers are expected to grow around 192.7 million bushels of barley this year, which is the smallest amount in three years. The European Union, Australia, and Argentina are also expecting smaller harvests this year due to inclement weather.
The barely shortage will hit craft breweries the hardest, because they are much smaller and "typically keep less malt on hand." Craft brewers also tend to use more malt in the brewing process than larger beer companies. Anheuser-Busch — one of the largest beer producers in the world — adds corn or rice to their beers "for a different flavor" but also because those grains are "plentiful," read: cheap. Since base costs will go up for craft brewers, so will the beer prices. Brewer Neil Herbst tells Reuters: "Any small brewery is going to be exposed." So brace beer-lovers, the $120 price tag on that truffle-infused beer might just feel like a bargain in a few months. Or not.