Beer prices increasing as barley gives way to more corn for ethanol

Elaine Allegrini

When you lift a cold glass of beer, you are not likely to think of a farm in the Midwest. Think again.

Barley, a key ingredient in most beers, is getting less space on farms because of the demand to grow more corn, a key ingredient in the production of ethanol, a fuel additive that is cleaner-burning than fossil fuels and could help ease U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

The price of barley has increased nearly 50 percent in a year, according to Farm & Ranch Guide. That means higher prices for some beers.

"Everything's going up," said Dave MacCord, owner of Eagle Wine and Spirits in West Bridgewater.

Food prices are up, milk has reached record prices, and, MacCord said, now liquor prices are rising.

Budweiser and Miller are among the larger breweries that have not raised prices this summer, said Buddy Carp of Raynham Wine & Liquors.

But smaller breweries have. "Sam Adams, Harpoon and a lot of the imported beers are up," said Carp.

He has seen increases of about 5 percent. A case of Sam Adams has gone from $20 to $21.

- The Enterprise (Brockton, Mass.)