Climate change could see pubs run dry - Niwa

Climate change could cause a drop in beer production within 25 years, a scientist has warned.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger said climate change could see a decline of malting barley production in parts of Canterbury and across the Tasman.

"It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," Dr Salinger said.

He said there could be an expansion of malting barley production in Otago and Southland.

Dr Salinger said production in Australia was likely to be hit harder with parts of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales affected.

He said the dry areas in Australia would become drier and water shortages were only going to get worse.

"It will provide a lot of challenges for the brewing industry," Dr Salinger said.

He said breweries could be forced to look at new varieties of malt as a direct result of climate change.

Lion Nathan corporate affairs director Liz Read said climate change was forcing the price of malted barley, sugar, aluminium and sugar up and the cost would be passed on to the consumer.

"The pressure is on grain suppliers and food suppliers world-wide," she said.

Ms Read said the price of malted barley had increased over the last 18 months but she could not say by how much.

The brewery received about 70 per cent of its malted barley from the Canterbury region, she said.

Ms Read said as well as climate change, barley growers were competing with land-use. She said that pressure had increased with the record Fonterra pay-outs.

Dr Salinger is speaking at The Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention in Auckland today.

- NZHERALD STAFF

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