Last call for cheap beer: How inflation and war could impact grabbing a cold beer

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With war raging in Europe, our area is bound to see more economic impacts than rising gas prices. Some businesses like breweries could be among the hardest hit.

Though the Cape Fear has a wealth of local breweries, those businesses rely on grain to brew their own beers, a crop heavily grown in Europe.

“There’s a considerable amount of Europe’s wheat that comes from the area around the Black Sea,” said Wrightsville Beach Brewery’s Jud Watkins. “And obviously, some of that would be coming from Ukraine and Russia.”

Though the war in Ukraine only started a few weeks ago, local breweries are already seeing local and European grain costs hop up, inflation affecting pints and prices.

“We’ve seen a price increase really across the board, said Edward Teach Brewery’s Zach Wakefield. “When it comes to anything from aluminum, to malt, to hops, really, and in transit. I mean getting things actually to us has been an issue.”

New Anthem Beer Project has seen an almost 13% grain price increase this year alone. The brewery purchases most grain from the U.S. and Canada, but is keeping an eye on how much bread they’ll need to spend on German barley.

“It definitely has gone up,” Aaron Skiles explained. “We try really hard, a lot of American maltsers to make products that work in the brewhouse. We get close, but it’s just not the same.”

And while not every local business has seen the Ukrainian conflict’s influence yet, smaller breweries are preparing, working to keep supply chain issues from creating a last call for cheap beer.

“For the time being, we’re going to try to hold our beer prices as is,” Watkins said. “But ask me again in six months and we’ll see. It’s hard to tell.”

Already, national brands like Heineken may have to increase prices as much as 15% due to cost of ingredients, energy, and transport.

Categories: Local, NC, New Hanover, News, Top Stories