Corn sweetener loses its luster, and its customers

A brawl between brewers over a Super Bowl ad last winter was not just a market-share battle between beer-making giants. It also offered a revealing look the reduced role corn sweeteners are playing in the food and beverage industry. (No paywall)

Alcohol industry funding NIH study into benefits of drinking

An ambitious 10-year study undertaken by the National Institute for Health, which examines whether daily drinking can have positive health effects, is largely funded by the alcohol industry. It raises questions about the integrity of the trial and whether NIH employees broke the agency’s fundraising policies.

Foraging, the newest step in hyper-local craft beer

In the small town of Ava in southern Illinois, brewers Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon take a look outside when they need ingredients for their brewery. With a garden on their property and a "commitment to sourcing their hops and malt close to home," Scratch Brewery "is part of a new movement of breweries that want to use foraged beers—beverages brewed with wild ingredients sourced hyper-locally—to educate drinkers about agriculture," says Civil Eats.

Climate change hits malt barley, which means your beer

Summer storms and unpredictable “flash droughts” have proven a challenge to farmers who grow malt barley in Montana. As the climate has gradually warmed, a once-hospitable environment for the grain has become far more tenuous, says Ari LeVaux in FERN’s latest story, with The Weather Channel. (No paywall)

Independent brewers to fund USDA research on disease-resistant hops

To assure a "truly local pint," a trade group for small and independent brewers announced an agreement with USDA's Agricultural Research Service to fund the breeding of a disease-resistant hop cultivar that will be freely available. The trade group Brewers Association says the goal is to ensure "all growers have access to high quality, disease-resistant cultivars they need to sustain production at levels required by brewers."

Craft brewers’ supply of hops squeezed by a brewery giant

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest beer producer in the world, is taking another shot at the American craft brewing industry, this time by cornering the market on some key ingredients independent brewers need to make quality beer. The company last week announced that they would no longer be exporting hops from their South African hop farms to U.S. craft brewers, as promised, and would instead be redirecting the hops toward their own in-house brands.

Booze beats bread in bidding for high-quality grain

The popularity of artisanal bakeries and craft brewers has led to a scramble for high-quality grain, says Eater. At the moment, distilleries have fatter wallets and are steadier customers than bakers . "Is there enough grain to go around?"

Artisanal beer can be good for a barley farmer

U.S. beer consumption is headed in two different directions. So-called craft beer from brewpubs and micro-breweries is rising in popularity while people are drinking less of the light lager produced by the big beer companies.