NEWS

Malted barley shortage could be a problem for brewers

01/09/2015 06:45 EST | Updated 03/11/2015 05:59 EDT
Bad weather in Alberta and parts of the United States last year is causing a shortage of a key ingredient in beer making, which is forcing breweries here to dip into their reserves.

Beer is one of the oldest beverages humans have produced. In it’s most basic form, beer requires water, hops and malted barley.

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing Company goes through 300 tonnes of malted barley in a year.

Its president, Brian Titus, says the grain is in short supply, forcing its suppliers to dip into their reserves.

"It's harvested and it’s stored, so there’s always a little bit of a buffer. And as it turns out, last year was a phenomenal harvest, and so we're dipping into that right now, to make up for not a great 2014. Obviously, we have two bad years and we're in trouble," he said.

If you enjoy drinking beer, Titus says not to worry, this probably won't impact how much consumers pay.

However, the shortage is driving the price up for breweries, by about five per cent. As more breweries pop up, there's more pressure on suppliers.

One of those new startups is Wrought Iron Brewing Company in north end Halifax. It's set to open in the spring.

Angus Campbell, co-founder of the new company, says they're keeping an eye on the market.

"It's something that we certainly consider on a regular basis, especially when we're in the midst of recipe development at the moment," he said.

Most breweries will have enough stock, at least for this year, but they will keeping a close eye on the weather and next year's harvest.

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