Drought brews anxiety at Boulevard Brewery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas winter wheat crop continues to suffer from warm, dry and windy weather -- which is creating anxiety at Boulevard Brewery.

The USDA reports 25 percent of the wheat is now in poor to very poor condition, about 46 percent is rated as fair, with just 28 percent in good condition.
   
That leaves only 1 percent of the crops rated as excellent.

That news has the brewmaster at Boulevard Brewery concerned about soaring grain prices.

The company depends heavily on wheat and barley to make its 30 different brews. A wheat shortage could mean next year's Pale Ale is pricier to drink.  

"There might be a price increase but not yet ... don't worry," said brewmaster Steven Pauwels.

Pauwels said all of the brewery's wheat comes from Missouri.

"I'm there with the farmers," he said. "I hope rain will fall soon."

Farmers need winter wheat to germinate and bud before winter's first snowfall, but the dry conditions are making growth slow.

The USDA reports consumers will see the biggest price jumps in grocery bills in 2013, particularly in dairy, eggs and meat.
     
This summer's drought -- America's worst in half a century -- forced many desperate farmers to liquidate livestock earlier this year.

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