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. Australian drought pushes up price of beer

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Oct 14, 2007
A cold glass of beer is about to become more expensive in much of Australia, after prolonged drought wiped out much of the winter barley crop.

The price of other staples such as meat and bread will also rise by as much as 10 percent, New South Wales Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said.

After little or no rain in September, almost 80 percent of New South Wales state is now in a state of drought, compared with 71 percent last month.

"There's no doubt that much of the estimated winter crop is now lost due to the ongoing dry conditions," Macdonald said Saturday.

"Wheat and barley are among those crops hardest hit -- as a result we could see everything from bread to beer made in New South Wales cost a little more as Christmas approaches."

Macdonald said the average glass, or schooner, of beer could rise by between 10 and 20 cents due to the shortage of barley. Despite this, beer would still taste the same, he said.

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