I wish this was a joke — instead, it’s a cruel joke from the universe. Stockpile, ration and prepare for a long, long winter. Snip from the NPR story:
A worldwide hops shortage will make stouts, ales and other specialty microbrews more pricy in coming months.
A triple whammy of bad weather in Europe, an increase in the price of barley and a decrease in hops production in the U.S. has lead to a price increase of 20 percent for the most widely grown varieties, to 80 percent for specialty hops. The shortage is particularly hitting microbreweries, since they use more hops than major brewers.
Industrial brewers like Anheuser-Busch and Miller are more insulated against the shortage because they have futures contracts with hops farmers. The contracts, which help big brewers hedge against rising prices, allow them to buy a quantity of hops for a specific period of time for a certain price.
Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers, says that small brewers from Austria to Oregon are on edge.