Will the national hops shortage raise the cost of your favorite Cleveland beer?

Will the national hops shortage raise the cost of your favorite Cleveland beer?

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- There are four main ingredients in beer. Hops, barley, yeast and water and one of those four is experiencing a shortage that could impact the price of your beer in the future.

Hops gives beer its aroma and flavor and the country is experiencing a shortage.

Platform Beer Co. in Ohio City has expanded and exploded in its first three years in operation. They rely on being able to get the hops they have contracted to to buy for the next five years.

Ninety six percent of the country's hops are produced in the Pacific Northwest in states like Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Recent droughts in that region are cutting into the supply, and the explosion of microbreweries is drinking up what hops is available.

"Obviously, economics 101 means less supply with an increase in demand means our prices are going to increase," Paul Benner, co-owner of Platform, said.

Part of the blame is being put on climate change, according to NASA Climate Scientist Joshua Fisher, which is making droughts more intense.

"We are reaching this kind of tipping point where what we've been used to in terms of how much rain we're gonna get and how plants grow is no longer the norm," Fisher said.

Consider the explosion of microbreweries just in the state of Ohio.

According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, in the beginning of January of 2016 140 microbreweries existed in the state.

Now, at the end of 2017, there are 254 and they all need hops.

"We will see how as demand continues to grow, if supply can keep up with that. If it doesn't keep up with that than we may see some effect on pricing," Benner said as to whether or not they will have to raise prices on beers because of the shortage.

There is one bright spot.

Farms in the Midwest are starting to grow hops trying to capitalize on the need for hops.

But, it takes a lot longer to grow it than it does to drink it.

"I don't think its necessarily a worry for us. But it is something we need to keep our eye on, and were taking steps in making sure we are diversified in where we're sourcing our hops," Benner said.

In fact, in just two weeks Platform will unveil its first ever, all Ohio beer.

It's called "Buckeye Blitz" and is made entirely out of Ohio hops and barley.

There is a chance to correct this before your beer prices go up too much and that's if 2018 is a good year for the hops crop.

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