The Grinch has stolen Christmas

Are you drunk right now? Chances are, you’re not, according to an article in the Economist about how high prices for hops and barley are threatening Christmas debauchery. The price of beer has skyrocketed this holiday season, and in some cases (God forbid), your favorite micro-brewed beers might have completely disappeared off the shelf.

There’s crop failures all over Australia and Europe, so if you’re sampling the pubs there, don’t expect them to be in a generous holiday spirit. The folks stateside aren’t faring any better. What’s happened is many Pacific northwest farmers have switched to growing corn, instead of hop (what gives beer its unique taste). Corn can be made into ethanol for biofuel, and that’s a booming market right now. Unfortunately, the decrease in hop production, estimated at 50% in the past decade, has led to prices shooting by up to five times what they were. Bigger breweries, like your neighborhood Anheuser-Busch, have it a little better due to long-term contracts, but their six-packs have still increased in price.

On this note, have a merry Christmas everyone, and stay safe. Use a designated driver.