A brewing disaster

College students be warned: beer prices may be going up.According to a recent article in Seven Days, it looks like prices for the precious commodity valued most by college students may be on the rise.The newsroom’s paraphrased and somewhat censored line on the issue continues to be a variant of “This is terrible!” It’s truly funny how at this point in our lives this is one of our biggest concerns.But all kidding aside, this is a deadly serious issue. At the heart of rising beer prices lies a confluence of events which will make life harder not just for those along the ever-blurred line between college students and alcoholics, but for people all over the country, especially those in the middle and lower classes – food prices in general, not just for the barley and hops that are critical for beer, are on the rise.And it does not look like things are going to be getting better any time soon.With the dollar falling and the cost of oil rising, it’s becoming more and more expensive to produce and ship the kind of cheap calories that Americans have counted on for decades.And Congress may be making things worse. Recently passed mandates for the production of corn-based ethanol, the hotly debated alternative fuel, mean that more agricultural land will go toward producing food for our cars rather than our stomachs.These mandates are utter nonsense. Proponents of ethanol have made many claims about its benefits, and it is upon the strength of these claims that our government has pushed forward with the fuel, but many of these arguments have been hotly contested and there is little consensus about the value of the substance.While, for these reasons, it makes sense to further pursue ethanol as a possible replacement for gas, it doesnot make sense to plunge ahead down this route at the expense of average Americans, especially when there are already plenty of better, more proven ways of reducing our dependence upon oil.Think of this next time you’re kicking back with a Number 9, a Hibernator, or a Switchback and consider writing a letter to your congressman. While the way in which this issue hits us the hardest will likely be our wallets and our livers, it’s no joke and may prove far more grim than a pricey pint.