Or at least that’s what they want us to believe. First a price hike for corn tortillas in Mexico last January drove thousands of protestors out into the streets. Now German beer brewers are threatening their customers with a price hike for Bier this May. Is nothing sacred anymore? And all of this is necessary because of the demand for biofuel? Damn, if you were ever wondering when this bio stuff was going to finally get out of hand, now you know that that the time is, uh, now.

Of course there was also an extremely poor barley harvest last year. And the amount of land used for growing barley in Germany is said to be receding by 5 percent a year. But whatever the reason, the price of barley, which is used to make malt for brewing, has doubled within the past twelve months.

While many farmers loudly protest the growing importance of biofuels and are calling for a cut in the subsides granted to those who produce biofuel crops (the European Union wants vehicle fuel to consist of at least 10 percent “green” fuel by 2020), many believe that the coming price increase, however high, will be unjustified. One source estimates that the total amount of barley used to produce a 24-bottle case of beer only accounts for about 33 cents of the total price. And a three-percent rise in the German value-added tax might also be partly to blame here – brewers decided not to pass that increase on to wholesalers when it came into effect on January 1.

But being that the average daily consumption of beer in Germany was around 111.6 liters per head last year, that’s the equivalent of every one of the country’s 82 million people drinking a 0.31-liter glass of beer every day, well, that price increase is going to be a considerable increase in revenue indeed.

But hey, wait a minute. I always thought that beer was a form of biofuel to begin with. You know, Reinheitsgebot and all that. Can’t they just figure out how to make cars start drinking the stuff, too? 

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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