Inflation, war in Ukraine among factors in rising beer prices
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Beer, like most consumer goods, is more expensive than it was last year. The price of beer is up 8.6%, according to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index. But there’s more to the brew than just inflation.
The brewmaster behind Spotted Cow, one of Wisconsin’s most iconic beers, says he’s never seen anything like this in his 40 years of brewing.
“When we have to raise our price, it becomes harder for people to afford it and people have to work more hours to buy the beer,” Daniel Carrey, brewmaster at New Glarus Brewing Company, said. “It personally hurts me.”
Natural disasters are decreasing crop yields. In 2021, U.S. barley production was the lowest in a century.
“Every year, a farmer says they’ve never seen a year like this,” Carrey said. “But this really of late has been beyond the pale. The weather events have been absolutely crazy.”
Leftover inflation from COVID-19 has also driven the cost of some cans up by nearly 50%, Carrey said.
“To see such a large jump was pretty startling,” he added.
Lastly, the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are pouring over into Wisconsin’s beer production too.
“That’s probably been the biggest impact,” Tim Goers, head brewer at G5 Brewing Company, said.
Ukraine is one of the biggest exporters of wheat in the world. With the ongoing conflict, its supply has dramatically dropped.
“Those three things together are breaking the camel’s back,” Carrey said.
Despite the challenges, beer producers are staying true to their craft.
“A lot of us are not changing our methods or trying to cut corners or costs because we believe in what we’re doing,” Goers said.
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