Asahi’s chief executive has warned that climate change could create beer shortages as rising temperatures reduce barley yields and quality of hops.

The Financial Times reports that analysis conducted by the company found that France’s spring barley harvest could decrease 18 per cent by 2050 under the UN’s 4 degree scenario, while Poland’s harvest would shrink 15 per cent.

Furthermore, the quality of hops would decline 25 per cent in the Czech Republic, one of the world’s largest hop producers.

Under a scenario of below 2 degrees, the French harvest is forecast by Asahi to decline 10 per cent, that in Poland by 9 per cent and the quality of hops in the Czech Republic by 13 per cent.

Asahi chief Atsushi Katsuki told the FT, “Although with hotter weather the consumption of beer may grow and become an opportunity for us, climate change will have a serious impact,” 

“There is a risk that we may not be able to produce enough beer.”

Unstable weather conditions have been responsible for a downturn in barley yields in recent years, with European malt and malting barley prices hitting record levels in 2022. 

Katsuki adds that climate change has had a bigger impact on the price of barley than even Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“That is why we’re not just taking our own actions but we also need to push harder, working with other members of the industry and the society at large . . . we have to all work together to mitigate the climate change risks,” he says. 

Asahi has partnered with Microsoft and an agritech company to start tracking harvest volume and quality on farms and will also launch a new global procurement centre in Singapore, which will centralise sourcing of key ingredients to manage possible supply chain issues