Action Needed to Halt Staggering Cost of Beer

Barack Obama offers a toast at a bar in Raleigh, N.C., earlier this month. i i

hide captionDemocratic presidential candidate Barack Obama offers a toast at a bar in Raleigh, N.C., earlier this month.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Barack Obama offers a toast at a bar in Raleigh, N.C., earlier this month.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama offers a toast at a bar in Raleigh, N.C., earlier this month.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

The world's most important liquid is more expensive than it used to be. No, not oil. Beer.

The price of hops has jumped from 80 to 450 percent thanks to a worldwide shortage. A 20 pound bag of malted barley, whatever that is, is up as much as 57 percent. As a result, microbrews and imports are often $3 more per six-pack than a year ago.

And yet our politicians prattle on about the war in Iraq, health care and the mortgage crisis. ... Enough! Let's talk substance. Let's talk beer.

Barack Obama may be the only candidate who cares. He recently ordered a PBR while campaigning for some primary. Yep, a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Why's he ordering the same cheap beer I do? Some say he was pandering to the blue-collar vote. But, is this finally a candidate who (how shall I put this?) feels our pain?

Consider your average hipster/temp. His wages have stagnated while the price of everything else has risen. If he still wants those micros or imports, he'll have to work late, get a second job, or — God forbid — get a real one.

Our leaders should — nay, must — step in. This week, the Senate voted to stop sending oil to the strategic petroleum reserve. We have a strategic petroleum reserve? Why don't we have a strategic hops reserve? Why hasn't anyone proposed a beer tax holiday?

I'm not saying it's a great idea. I'm not even saying the conclusion of this essay makes sense. I'm just saying (SOUND EFFECT: BEER CAN OPENING, GULP). Ahhhh... I'm sorry, what was I saying?

Improv comedian Dennis O'Toole lives in Chicago. He is 33 years old and wishes someone — anyone! — would still card him.

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