Buzz Kill: Beer vs. Ethanol

Why your favorite six-pack could soon cost 11 bucks.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

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.



Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend