Bitter Harvest: The price of hops quintupled last year, partly due to bad weather in growing regions—hail and tornadoes in Slovenia and the Czech Republic, floods in England, and wet summers in Germany, the source of a third of the world’s hops. Blame global warming?
Damn You, Ethanol!: As biofuel stokes high corn prices, more barley is being used to feed livestock. The Brewers Association reports that barley prices jumped by as much as 100 percent last year.
No Beer for Oil: $100/barrel oil makes driving the beer truck and making bottles more expensive.
Kicking the Can: The price of aluminum, used to make pop-tops, is high, partly due to the Chinese construction boom. Meanwhile, 400,000 steel kegs were stolen in 2006, presumably to be melted down on the black market.
Brewed Awakening: Brewers are cutting production of their hoppiest beers such as ipas. And there’s more bad news: The British Beer and Pub Association predicts that the cost of a pint could almost double by summertime. Stateside, you can expect to pay 50 cents more for a pint of your favorite microbrew. Budweiser and Coors drinkers need not worry, though; the big breweries’ prices are expected to stay flat.