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Farming in the age of climate change is an uncertain proposition, as the hop growers in Washington’s Yakima Valley can attest. As weather patterns alter, the farmers who grow 40% of the world’s hop supply are battling one crisis after another. Violent windstorms toppled their hop trellises just before the 2020 harvest. (A similar gale drove the December 2021 fire that ripped through the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado.) An unprecedented heat dome scorched their crop during the summer of 2021. And wildfires during the autumn of 2020 ruined still more hops.

Over the past two years, these issues have played out across the beer industry supply chain. “The Colorado wildfires made the water unusable for our brewery,” says Katie Wallace, New Belgium Brewing’s director of social and environmental impact. “We also had the worst barley crop in farmers’ lifetimes due to extreme heat, and limited hop supplies because of the smoke taint. There were major supply chain disruptions during extreme weather events, like the deep freeze in February, that shut down deliveries of supplies critical to brewing and... Read more

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