Czech beer brands at risk from climate change

You’d think that you couldn’t get further from heavy issues like climate change than in the high volume, image driven beer category. Yet it may be one of the first categories to experience real ‘brand risk’ from climate change.

New Scientist reports this week that the Saaz hops that is the basis for pilsner lagers such as Pilsner Urquell, is falling in quality year on year, noticeably, due to the temperature rise in Central Europe over the last decades (they measured 1954 to 2006 period). This will impact the delicate bitter taste of pilsners, which is its key point of difference, and will reduce yields, ultimately putting up prices.

Its a sober (no pun intended!) reminder that as brand marketers, we can’t take for granted our product point of difference, and need to understand where it comes from and what its risks are. In this case, there is little the Czech beer brands can do to prevent Czech beer becoming a different taste profile or higher price, since climate change can’t be ‘solved’ by one business.

But it also explains why the city (through the Carbon Disclosure Report) are so keen to probe publically listed companies on the risks to their brands and businesses – and reminds us that no brand will be immune in the long run.