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article imageBrewers scrambling to get pumpkins for fall beers

By Karen Graham     Aug 13, 2016 in Food
The looming shortage of pumpkins this year can be looked at two ways, disastrous or a blessing, depending on if you love pumpkin beer or cringe at the thought of drinking a brewed concoction made with pumpkins.
You might remember the great pumpkin shortage of 2015. when record spring rainfall washed out 50 to 60 percent of the crop, according to Digital Journal. While the impending shortage of pumpkins didn't have an effect on autumn beers or Thanksgiving pies, it may be different this year.
Last year, companies that can pumpkin didn't hold back on their stocks that would have been the reserves used this year. You can see where this is going.. Anyway, now it is this year and the experts are raising their voices again about a looming pumpkin shortage, and it is in part due to the weather.
Right now, there is a shortage of the puree autumnal beer brewers use in making pumpkin beer. Draft Magazine reports that Nebraska Brewing Co. which makes a large seasonal batch of Wick For Brains pumpkin beer each fall was told by their regular supplier their pumpkin puree order would be filled, only to find out later the 5,000 pounds of puree would not be shipped.
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While some brewers have not had a problem getting pumpkin puree, others have not faired so well. It seems that weather has again played a role in crop production and it's not just pumpkins that have been affected. Critz Farms in Cazenovia, New York plays host to an annual Blueberry Jam Music Festival, starting on August 20 this year.
The only problem is that there won't be any blueberries for visitors to pick and take home. According to farm owner Matthew Critz, the blueberry season ended rather abruptly in mid-July. A mild winter and 60 degree days in March caused the plants to bud too early, then two nights of a severe freeze in April damages the plants.
As far as the farm's pumpkin crop goes, the Syracuse News reports that Critz is looking forward to a bumper crop. He says the pumpkins love the heat along with some gentle rain to finish them off in August. “That’s the silver lining in all of this,” Critz says. “The pumpkins look great. It’s agriculture. You have to see the silver lining when you’re a farmer.”
This year, large regions of the U.S. are suffering from a drought, and two of the country's largest pumpkin producers, Illinois and California are right in the midst of the heat. One brewer who wished to remain nameless, told Draft Magazine, the shortage this year was “Pumpkageddon, bad times indeed.”
So we are left to wonder what the 2017 season will bring, and how many other drops will end up being impacted by the weather.
More about pumpkin beer, pumpkin shortages, drought conditions, Pumpkageddon, second year in a row
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