Beer Could Help Scientists Understand How Crops Adapt to Climate Change

Researchers at UC-Riverside are investigating how barley, a key ingredient in beer, survives in such a wide variety of climates with hopes of learning what exactly makes it so resilient across climates. Barley was first grown domestically in Southwest Asia about 10,000 year ago and is grown around the world, from Egypt to Minnesota. Barley’s prime growing regions have shifted northward in recent decades as global temperatures have risen due to climate change caused by human extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. Chuck Skypeck, technical brewing projects manager for the Brewers Association located in Boulder, Colorado, told E&E climate change’s effects are impacting the brewing industry. “Certainly dynamic growing conditions, water scarcity, extreme weather events, growers’ planting decisions can all affect both pricing and availability of brewers’ supply of malted barley,” he told E&E News.

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