A worldwide shortage of a key beer ingredient, hops, is causing beer prices to spike, beer batches to be delayed, and talk of your favorite pale ales being forced to (gulp) mellow out.
Retailers are reporting that beers from smaller, "craft" breweries have risen about $1 per six-pack this year, with more increases coming as brewers pass on the cost of a five- to tenfold increase in hops prices.
Why the shortage now? It's a classic stroy of supply and demand. "There was a glut of hops, which caused low prices, which caused a lot of people to go out of business," says Ralph Olson, owner of Hopunion, a Washington state supplier of hops to brewers across the U.S. "Now, there's a shortage."
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