Trouble Brewing: How Climate Change Is Threatening Beer Production
A warming climate is creating new problems for the brewing industry, threatening beer production in Australia.
Beer producers are going to have to make changes to the way they brew beer to deal with some of the unexpected consequences of climate change.
Australia is getting hotter, fast.
In January of this year, the mean temperature across the country exceeded 30 degrees Celsius for the first time since records began.
The trend of increasing droughts and heat has already affected Australia's crops, with CSIRO modelling finding that climate change has affected Australian wheat yields by around 27 percent since 1990.
However, a primary problem for brewers and bakers may be something that these industries never expected.
As the Australian climate warms, the composition of grains is impacted during a critical growth period, changing the way they behave in production.
Doctor Glen Fox, a food and nutrition scientist from the University of Queensland, said that heat-stressed grains require a higher temperature to make all of the grain's components dissolve in the first stages of brewing.
Fox said that maltsters and brewers will have to reconsider how they produce beer in the years to come to battle these changes and do additional testing to ensure that bigger problems don't happen down the line.
He said that these adjustments will have to happen at every step of the beer-making process.
"Barley growers do an amazing job but the challenge for them will be to potentially select varieties that might flower and mature a little bit earlier to reduce the risk of suffering some sort of stress event during grain fill," Fox said.
"Climate change unfortunately is presenting extra challenges for everyone."