Global Warming Affects Beer Production … OK, Now It’s Serious

Just the other day while I watching the store here at the Yukon Brewing Company, I had a customer look outside our windows while I was filling his growler and remark that maybe we have global warming wrong.

I finished filling his jug and turned around to see a mid-April blizzard swirling around our parking lot. I replied that I myself was a bit tired of the snow falling, but being a life-long Yukoner, I know that stranger weather than isolated mini-snowstorms in April are more the rule than the exception here in Whitehorse.

The customer grinned and stated that maybe the scientists and prognosticators have it wrong. Maybe Yukoners should be welcoming global warming with open arms. Warmer weather, he asserted, wouldn’t hurt us in our lifetime and he even went as far as to say that Yukon Brewing should sponsor an event celebrating the coming of warmer times ahead.

Of course, he was half joking. You would have had to live on the cool, dark side of a rock to not know that ice caps melting and ozone layers disappearing are very bad things for us and our environment. But who doesn’t get a little sun starved?

I thanked him for his input and told him with a goofy grin that I’ll be getting to work on a “Yukon Brewing Welcomes Global Warming: UV Rays Come As You Are” banner (just kidding).

However, the conversation nagged at me for a couple days until I came across some information while surfing the Internet on global warming and its direct effect on beer and brewing.

Recent studies have linked warming trends to increases in hurricanes and storms in farming regions (such as ones where malt barley and hops are yielded). While agricultural trends have shifted away from barley and wheat in favour of fuel-yielding crops like canola, those that are left are that much more in jeopardy.

With fewer crops out there to turn into delicious beer, beer prices could find themselves getting higher and higher. Same goes for wines from your favourite coastal vineyards.

I’m thinking it might be time to curb my want for summer sun. Because really, what good is the summer sun shining down on you if you can’t have your favourite brew in hand anyway?

This column is courtesy of the Yukon Brewing Company, an organization that cares about our planet because that is where the beer is.

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