Is California’s drought going to ruin our beloved craft beer?

It was a standard weeknight at homea growler from Track 7 and a good ‘ol drought discussion. Then we had a terrifying thought: beer is mostly water. Is the drought going to destroy beer?

Probably not.

“I’m not panicking yet,” said Ruhstaller’s J.E. Paino. “We’re still in January. I’ve been around long enough to know that one good month of rain can take care of a lot of issues.”

For Ruhstaller, a brewery that depends on local ingredients and local farmers, the drought is perhaps of more concern than it is to other Sacramento craft breweries. Most breweries buy hops from other states–states where it actually rains. Paino said the drought will become a major concern if it continueshe’ll need plenty of water for the hop farm come summer, and hops need a lot of water. Way more than grapes, which is good news for any of you worried wine-os.  

In the meantime, water could get more expensive. And as we’ve previously established, beer is mostly water.

Luckily, Track 7’s brewer Ryan Graham isn’t freaking out.

“Even if water rates go up, water is cheap compared to other materials needed for brewing,” he said.

Graham and Paino both said they doubt they’d raise the price of their beer even if their beer became pricier to produce. They’d absorb, until, maybe, things got really bad.

“I think, at that point, we would all decide to do it together,” Paino said of the local brewing community.  

We’ll keep watching. For now, take Paino’s expert advice: “Drink the same amount of beer and take shorter showers.”

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