OK, I was mad at the waste of tax dollars for ethanol programs that do nothing for the environment or to reduce net fossil fuel consumption. I was mad that a technology that in no way reduces CO2 production but does introduce radical new land-use-related environmental problems could be sold as an environmental panacea, rather than the corporate welfare it truly is. I was mad we have decided it is more important to subsidize corn farmers than to continue to provide the world's poor with cheap food. And I was flabbergasted that Congress could call for production of more corn-based ethanol than is physically possible with our entire corn crop.
But I really am mad now that ethanol subsidies are making craft beers rarer and more expensive to make:
A global shortage of hops, combined with a run-up in barley prices, is
sending a chill through Arizona's craft-beer industry.
The hops shortage threatens to boost prices, cut into profits and close
down brewpubs. It could change the taste and consistency of treasured
In Bisbee, "hop heads" already are weaning themselves from Electric
Dave's India Pale Ale. Dave Harvan closed his 7-year-old Electric
Brewing Co. in November, citing the scarcity and high cost of
So why aren't as many farmers growing hops and barley? Because the government is paying them ridiculous jack to grow corn so we can burn food into our cars:
Papazian attributed the barley prices to ethanol subsidies that have
raised the price of corn, the main ingredient in the alternative fuel.
As a result, farmers have switched to barley for livestock feed, which
has pushed up prices.
The hops situation is more complex. Years of overproduction and low
prices led farmers to replace hops fields with more profitable crops.
Add to that corn subsidies that have caused farmers to replace hops
fields with corn, a drought in Australia that affected yields and heavy
rains in Europe that ruined much of this year's crop.