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Brewers Brace for Brettanomyces Shortage

As supplies of the wild yeast dwindle, recipes are being tweaked and brewers prepare for "dark, less funky times" ahead.

John Holl Apr 1, 2018 - 3 min read

Brewers Brace for Brettanomyces Shortage Primary Image

Chad Yakobson, of Crooked Stave, stares longingly at his dwindling supply of Brettanomyces. Brewers around the country are quickly running out of the wild yeast. Photo by Haydn Strauss.

After years of worrying about the possibility, and desperately seeking a solution to avoid the worst possible outcome, brewers in all nations are preparing for a world-wide Brettanomyces shortage.

Recipes are being tweaked in advance. Entire barrel programs are being abandoned. And there's been an uptick in research related to creating a synthetic yeast to replace the genuine article.

"We always hoped to avoid this day," says Chad Yakobson, the founder of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project in Colorado. "Thankfully we have our 'clean' beer program to fall back on. But, when the last of the Brett goes, it'll be a sad day. I'll pour a bit of Helles lager out onto the brewery floor for our fallen friend."

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.