If Hank Williams were alive today, he would no doubt have a tear in his beer over climate change: Turns out, extreme weather has the potential to curb barley yields worldwide and cut into beer production, according to a new report by the journal Nature Plants.
The report found that climate change could have a devastating effect on the global beer industry, which is expected to reach $758 billion by 2023, according to Mordor Intelligence.
Researchers found the average yield losses could range from 3% to 17% depending on how dramatic the effects of climate change become, according to the report. Pervasive drought and high heat can cause yields of barley - the main ingredient in beer - to plunge.
"Decreases in the global supply of barley lead to proportionally larger decreases in barley used to make beer and ultimately result in dramatic regional decreases in beer consumption," stated the report, published Monday, Oct. 15. "Although not the most concerning impact of future climate change, climate-related weather extremes may threaten the availability and economic accessibility of beer."
For instance, extreme weather could lead to a 32% drop in production in Argentina and costs nearly doubling in Ireland, found the researchers, Wei Xie, Wei Xiong, Jie Pan, Tariq Ali, Qi Cui, Dabo Guan, Jing Meng, Nathaniel D. Mueller, Erda Lin, and Steven J. Davis.