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Love Beer? Then You Have to Stand up Against Climate Change

Mar 21, 2016 11:47 AM EDT
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11 boozy stats about Oktoberfest

If you consider yourself a beer lover, then it is high time to stand up against climate change.

With the continuous negative impact of global warming, not only is our food production and supply threatened, but also production and supply of everything else--including beer. While we know that fermented grain is the beverage's key ingredient, hops are also as important.

The flower buds of the hops plant are necessary for the beer's taste and aroma. In the United States, 73% of these are grown in Washington state, and the rest are found in Oregon and Idaho, according to the Department of Agriculture.

But 2015 was incredibly hot in Washington, making it harder to produce this flavor-giving bud. According to the Drought Monitor, the state faced severe drought conditions, yielding a decrease in production.

While hops growers, particularly in Yakima Valley, generally made it through and beat the heat last summer, the coming years are predicted to be harsher. As reported in Climate.gov, Guillaume Mauger of the University of Washington said the climate models with the unusual warmth of the previous year will be the "new normal."

The intense heat also makes it more difficult for irrigation. While it does not only affect production, the use of groundwater can also reportedly result to a negative taste for beer.

Ultimately, as the nation's favored beverage, its high demand also translates to more jobs and thus, is a big economic driver. Remove the hops from the equation and trouble ensues.

But it may not be too late. Several breweries, acknowledging the negative impacts of the changing climate, have signed the Brewery Climate Declaration. With this document, they have declared their commitment to sustainable practices in the business, to let the brewing continue with a green perspective.

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