Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Commodities: Contaminated Malting Barley Causes Super-effervescent Beer, Barley Prices Explode

Okay, the prices haven't exactly exploded but the market is very firm.
From Agrimoney:

Exploding beer brings fizz to malting barley price
Exploding beer is bringing fizz to the malting barley market by forcing brewers to seek alternatives to problematic Danish grain, bringing firm prices to supplies from other countries.
In Paris, malting barley futures have escaped the price drop evident in other grains, rising 4% over the last month, for May delivery, compared with a 4% drop in milling wheat.
In the UK, cash prices have rebounded from a summer low of about £180 a tonne "nearly getting back to £200 a tonne", a UK grain trader told Agrimoney.com.
"It is going to go back to £200 a tonne, and back through £200 a tonne if you have the right stuff," he added, pegging the premium over feed barley at a "historical high" of about £50 a tonne.
'Absolute rubbish'
The rises reflect a poor-quality harvest from Denmark, a country which, despite its relatively small acreage, and strong domestic demand for malting barley from brewers such as Copenhagen-based Carlsberg, still ranks as a major exporter.
The 700,000-1.2m tonnes it exports a year sees it vie with France for the title of the European Union's top malting barley shipper.
While the harvest started well, with the first one-third or so of malting barley coming off with excellent specifications, rains meant the quality of the next 40% was compromised, and the last cuts "absolute rubbish", an industry insider said.
Furthermore, Denmark's concentrated storage system, which sees grains kept in large central elevators, meant that the poor grain was not segregated from the good, compounding the problem.
'Beer all over the floor'
The result has been Danish supplies contaminated with unusually high concentrations of Fusarium, a fungus which stops kernel development in the field, and in the brewery causes effervescent beer.
"A high incidence of Fusarium in Danish barley is causing beer brewed from it to react somewhat explosively when the bottle is opened. Result: beer all over the floor and none to drink," grain traders at a major commodities house said....MORE