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How the Ukraine-Russia war is increasing beer prices in West Michigan

Grand Rapids is Beer City and if you've noticed you're paying more for a pint, the Russia-Ukraine war has something to do with it.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids is Beer City and if you've noticed you're paying more for a pint, the Russia-Ukraine war has something to do with it.

Some breweries are upping the price of beer, in part because of inflation and supply chain pressures, but also due to a conflict halfway around the world. 

Ukraine and Russia are both big producers of barley worldwide. Barley is used to make malt which is used to make beer.

The conflict is putting the stress on global supply chains.

"We're not getting barley from the Ukraine, but if you look at the aggregate pool, barley crop across the globe; a pull here on the supply chain ends up as a tug there. That's certainly impacting global barley markets which impacts local barley markets," said John Mallett, the VP of Operations at Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo. 

Mallett says West Michigan breweries are being directly impacted by the war. 

For example, one of the larger stainless steel plants in Ukraine was damaged or destroyed, which has an impact on equipment fabricated in Europe that comes to the U.S. for brewing application.

To offset the costs, some breweries, including Bell's, are upping the price of beer.

"I just think we're seeing inflationary pressures and perhaps those are execrated by war of Ukraine, supply chain and COVID-19, shortages of cans. There's a long list of horribles there," Mallett said. 

Mallett says it's important for small breweries have a great relationship with their suppliers so they can keep track of chance in pricing and other compressing forces.

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