A new study, published in Nature Plants, highlights that extreme weather conditions, such as droughts and heat waves, in conjunction with global warming, will cause "sharp declines" in barley crops, the primary component of beer. One factor to consider is that barley is mostly used to feed livestock, and beer is ultimately more dispensable than meat.
The beer consumption in these three key beer brewing countries could most likely drop by a third, the new study reveals.
Beer consumption is predicted to go down in poorer countries, such as China, and Davis joked that even the United States might see a drop-off in keg stands and beer pong tournaments in the future.
It revealed that in the United Kingdom, beer consumption could drop by between 0.37bn and 1.33bn litres, while the price could as much as double. The king of USA beer production remains Budweiser, which produces the No. 1 (Bud Light) and No. 3 (Budweiser) top-selling brands. "That makes sense. This is a luxury commodity and it's more important to have food on the table".
An worldwide team of scientists from the U.S., Britain, and China examined the effect of climate change on barley over the next 80 years of timespan. Climate change "may not affect our bread", he said, "but it will affect our beer."The idea for the study came up at - where else? - a bar, Dr. Guan said".
Researchers involved in the study stated while a beer shortage is insignificant in comparison to life-threatening effects of climate change, "there is nonetheless something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer..."
The beer: the future of luxury?
The result, Guan said, was that "the majority of countries will have a decline in barley".
It was reported today that climate change together with global hunger and man-made conflicts are creating a "perfect storm", the head of the UN's food arm warned in a call to action on World Food Day.
Spikes in beer costs will also fluctuate depending on the region, with wealthy, beer-loving countries experiencing the highest increases in price. It also expects average beer prices to double. In the worst case scenario of supply and demand, global beer consumption would decline by 16 per cent, while prices would double.
The study was supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the British Academy and Philip Leverhulme Prize.