Price hike for micro brewed beer likely by spring

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 20, 2015) - Fans of micro-brewed beer may see a price jump in the coming weeks, and it’s all because of a barley shortage.

“I haven’t seen an event like this in my career,” said Keely Thomlinson, Head Brewer at Thr3e Wise Men.

Her focus is the beer’s flavor, but now she’s concerned about the price too.

“With the barley shortage, with all the problems with flooding, it’s definitely going to raise prices,” she said.

Too much rain in the states that grow the most barley, Montana, North Dakota and Idaho, made the crop unusable for beer making.

Then, extreme cold in Canada, another major barley exporter, left much of the crop there frozen.

All of that affects prices locally.

“At Three Wise Men we’re not going to feel it as much because the majority of our silo amount is locked in price-wise, but the specialty malts we put in will probably see a bump in price there,” Thomlinson said.

Craft breweries make up 10 percent of the U.S. beer market and have been a hit with Hoosiers for years.

But most microbreweries don’t have that locked in price, so Thomlinson said prices could jump by $1 per pint on average to $2-3 per growler.

“It’s given us some frustrations here,” she said. “We had to close up our mill a lot, we saw a drop in our yield.”

Thomlinson said the price increase will vary per beer because some are more malt heavy than others.

She also said it’s possible breweries could eat the cost now and hope barley prices drop later.

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