Hops of wrath

November 20th, 2007 travis Leave a comment Go to comments

So far I have seen a lot of conversation about the hops shortage and what it is going to mean to brewers, both home and craft. Ted offered up a great post on pricing which spun into an ongoing conversation about how the hops shortage will affect us as homebrewers.

I’ll admit, at first I figured that it would only mean a jack up in price and I would suck it up and brew on. However, it’s much worse than I could have imagined. LHBS’s all over the country are rationing hops to 2oz per kind of hops you buy. I went to my LHBS and the fridge was almost bare! He said he had ordered 800oz of hops and gotten 300 of them in.

Now as homebrewers, we are going to make changes much like our older brothers (and sisters for the sake of being PC) the craft brewers. Recipes that are milder in hops and have a greater malt profile will become the norm and we will brew on. Weak and infant breweries will probably die off and the strong breweries will prevail from this shortage. For homebrewers however, I honestly can’t see it having the kind of impact regarding peoples interest as it would to a small craft brewery.

With all of that said, I would like to offer my take one the hops shortage based on what I have been reading and what I understand:


The hops industry has a turbulent history to say the least. As a cash crop it is heavy on expenses and light on profit. Globally, Germany and the United States supply two thirds of all the hops. In the US, Yakima Valley is chief producer of hops supplying 70% of all domestic hops.

Traditional hops producers such as England and the Czech Republic have decreased their production over the years. England is nearly out of the business all together contributing only 2% of the global hops production.

Why the decrease in production?

In the US there has been a 30% decrease in hops production since 1995 for a verity of reasons. Yakima Valley farmers have been turning in the farms to developers who are building houses and malls due to the high cost of growing hops and the low profit margins. The once rich hops fields are attractive to the booming Yakima Valley housing and development market.

This combined with “spot buying” of hops (consists of breweries seeking out inexpensive short-term year to year deals with hop farmers instead of the three and four year contracts) has created an environment where a lot of choices are out there for hop farmers and unfortunately at this point all of them are more attractive than dealing with the instability of hops farming. Spot buying was originally a way for small microbreweries to make ends meet, but in recent years many of the larger breweries have joined in and are now paying the price.

To further the shortage there was a fire at a Yakima Valley storage facility the destroyed 110 metric tons of hops (it’s a lot). Europe has had two poor harvest years due to weather ranging from severe rains to hail. All of these coupled with normal to sub-par production years in other regions has led to a perfect storm.

How is this going to affect me?

No one knows. At best, we all pay a lot more for hops for the next few years. At worst hops rationing kicks in and homebrewers will have to start scrambling for their supply. Already I have heard multiple reports that LHBS are going to be only allowing brewers to buy 2oz of any one kind of hops.

The situation is still early, but unfortunately as Ed from my LHBS said “we are the low man on the totem pole” referring to homebrewers and the priority to supply us with hops.

What’s next?

Rock soup? Packing up the wagon and headed to the rich plush growing fields of California (instead of Okies, maybe they will call us ‘hoppies’)? Who knows (OK, so I am being a little dramatic). There are a lot of things working that at least from the outside, give the impression that there is no short-term solution to this problem. Yakima Valley has become a popular place to live and prices are going to have to really skyrocket just to keep the growers we have. The price of wheat is up at $10 a bushel now, up from $3 a few years ago and this is a much more inexpensive crop to grow compared to hops. That coupled with the allure of selling out altogether leads me to believe that there is not going to be an end to shortage anytime soon.

Unfortunately the outlook is grim. Things will have to get bad before they get better and it’s not going to happen overnight. Even if it does take place and hops is suddenly a very profitable cash crop, the reason that it will be profitable is because we will be paying for it. As one might expect it will have the most noticeable impact on craft brewers as they struggle to make ends meet. This will translate to increased prices on shelves and eventually a retarding of the once booming craft brew industry.

For the last few years craft brew has been the only growth in the beer industry. In the beer production world, the yellow fizz producers have battled over market share, but seen the only growth has gone to the craft brew market (up 12%). However, this could serve as at least an anchor to slow this growth. Is it the end of the world? No, but it will be the end to a lot of breweries unfortunately.

What about us?

Well we will all need to wash the salty tears in our beer down and move on. I would recommend that if you have a LHBS and you have been shopping online for lot of things to save money, you consider going back and keeping your money close to home. After all, it’s better for the environment that mailing things halfway across the country to save a buck. LHBSs are going to have to raise prices and there will be some fall out, suck it up and keep your money close to home. The last thing on Earth you want is your LHBS to close it’s doors, that would suck.

Two other important ways that we as homebrewers can help out is brew on and get other people to join! Homebrewing is fun and if there are people with money they want to spend, products and retailers will be around. Are we going to be able to supplant the current craft industries usage? No, but just keep in mind that we want people drinking good beer. Even if they don’t brew it, they will buy it. Once you go craft you never go back. This will help the industry work through this turbulent time.

Sorry for the depressing post. Relax and have a homebrew. Cheers



Categories: Commentary Tags:
  1. Adam
    November 25th, 2007 at 02:41 | #1

    Wow! I just skimmed this, but, thanks for all the background. I’ll dig in when I have a bit more time.

  2. Andrew
    January 28th, 2008 at 06:36 | #2

    I spent a wonderful weekend with my daughter/son-in-law and was enchanted by a brew that they made at a micro-brewery in Sacramento. I was also given an education on the supply of hops and lack of it. Better yet,I was gifted with some! As a Ca. farmer in the fresh fruit business, I was skeptical of what they had told me. After reading the “Hops of wrath”, I now understand what is going on. I have been looking at hop production

  1. February 25th, 2009 at 23:58 | #1

2 + = nine

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free

Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wpburn.com wordpress themes
buy viagra vaniqa prescription
cheapest 4 quantity of viagra
buy online viagra in the uk
order viagra
buy free viagra on internet
cheap generic viagra no script
buy discount soma
buy viagra cheapest
buy lexapro
Cars Watch Online
cheap india viagra
cheap viagra uks
cheap cheap viagra
viagra buy it
cheap viagra discount
buy cheap online viagra viagra
Event Horizon
cheapest in uk viagra
cialis 10
cialis no prescription
cheapest generic viagra and canada
order viagra visit your doctor online
cialis 30mg
buy discount viagra viagra viagra
buy cheap viagra in uk
cheap generic viagra no prescription
buy cheap online uk viagra
buy viagra online now buy viagra
buy cheap generic online viagra
cheapest place to buy viagra
cialis 20
order viagra uk
viagra buy ionline
cheap online generic viagra
order viagra softtabs
cheap viagra bi
buy viagra viagra
buy keyword online viagra
buy viagra in uk
cheapest viagra online
buy viagra online in uk
buy deal online sale viagra viagra
buy viagra for cheap
buy online viagra viagra
buy viagra safeway pharmacy
buy viagra online a href
buy free online sale viagra viagra
buy viagra online get prescription
buy viagra cialis levitra
buy viagra next day delivery
buy viagra 50mg
Chicken Little Watch Online
cheap meltabs viagra
cheap pill viagra
buy avandia
cheap canadian viagra
buy viagra sale
buy discount propecia
viagra buy general
cheap mexico viagra
buy viagra us pharmacy low prices
cheapest viagra online plus zenegra
order viagra overnight shipping
buy online order viagra
viagra by mail order
Brief Encounter Watch Online
viagra and cialis cheap
buy viagra softtabs
buy viagra in malaysia
buy lopressor
viagra calgary
buy pharmaceutical viagra
Bridget Joness Diary Watch Online
buy online purchase viagra
buy viagra where
order cialis
buy viagra in spain
cheap genric viagra online
buy lipitor
buy get online prescription viagra
cheap order site viagra
buy cheap viagra prescription online
cheap online pill viagra
cheap discount levitra
viagra buying
buy file viagra
order viagra online uk
viagra buy viagra
buy cheap viagra online now
buy viagra in mexico
buy lexapro
buy kamagra viagra india
cheap kamagra viagra
buy viagra online at lowest price
cheapest uk supplier viagra
Bridge to Terabithia Watch Online
cheap pill pill sale viagra
buy viagra online india
buy cialis no prescription
cheapest online viagra
buy viagra cheapest best prices online
cheap deal deal pill viagra
order viagra with mastercard
order viagra viagra
discount levitra
Breach Watch Online
buy viagra and cilas usa
buy viagra alternative
discount viagra uk
buy viagra without prescription pharmacy online
buy female viagra
buy softtabs viagra
City of Ember Watch Online
buy generic online viagra
cheap discount viagra viagra
buy cheap viagra
order viagra prescription
Broken Arrow Watch Online
order viagra here
buy cialis online viagra
order viagra without prescription
buy viagra online in australia
Cast Away Watch Online
order cialis online
cheapest viagra prices
cheapest viagra online pharmacy
buy cozaar
order generic viagra online
order pfizer viagra with mastercard
cialis 20mg
buy viagra online alternative viagra
buy deal herbal viagra viagra
buy kamagra viagra
buy viagra online web meds
buy neurontin
cheap genaric viagra kamagra
cheapest viagra uk
order viagra 1
buy internet viagra
cheap deal pill pill viagra
buy nexium
cheap deal pill viagra viagra
cheap pharmacy viagra
buy levitra canada
viagra buy uk
cheap levitra
purchase levitra online
buy free viagra viagra
viagra by phone
cheap discount cialis
viagra and cialas
cheapest viagra in the uk
cheapest viagra on the internet
buy diovan
cheap viagra at online pharmacy
buy overseas viagra
buy generic viagra pharmacy online
buy generic viagra online pharmacy online
buy viagra london
cheap viagra uk
Canadian Bacon Buy Online
buy in online usa viagra
buy discount price sale viagra viagra
buy cheap generic viagra online
buy cialis now
buy viagra online without prescription
cheap deal viagra
buy viagra online order
viagra brands
cheap generic viagra
buy viagra online online pharmacy
viagra buy oonline
buy no online prescription viagra
cheap online sales viagra
buy cialis canada
discount viagra pharmacy online
Capote Buy Online Buy Online
buy viagra in amsterdam
buy viagra toronto
buy viagra prescription america
cheapest prices on generic viagra
Carrie Buy Online
buy say viagra
buy viagra 1
buy viagra or cilas
cheap cheap viagra viagra
order viagra on line
buy viagra cialis
Chain Reaction Watch Online
buy online pharmacy viagra
cheapest viagra on the net
viagra buy australia
cheapest uk viagra
buy viagra and overseas
buy glucophage
buy viagra viagra online
buy viagra in new zealand
City of Angels Watch Online
buy cialis online
buy viagra without prescription
buy buy sale viagra viagra
buy viagra at safeway
buy viagra online paypal
buy cheap viagra uk
buy viagra online and get prescription
viagra and cialis and
buy viagra overnight
purchase levitra
buy viagra bradenton
buy viagra australian
buy viagra from brazil
buy norvasc
cialis 30
order viagra usa
discount viagra pills
cheapest viagra in uk che
buy online viagra viagra viagra
buy viagra and cilas
Butterfly on a Wheel Watch Online
buy discount viagra
discount viagra mastercard
cheap cialis online
cheap cialis viagra
cheap online purchase viagra
cheapest brand viagra
buy viagra in london
buy real viagra pharmacy online
buy viagra in canada
buy cheapest viagra online
buy viagra with paypal
buy online drug viagra pharmacy
buy deal viagra
discount viagra generic
buy viagra in toronto
buy from pharmacy us viagra
discount viagra sales online
buy buy cheap viagra
cheapest viagra online in the uk
buy online online pill viagra viagra
buy cheap deal online viagra viagra
cheap generic viagra online
cheap viagra st
buy prescription vaniqa viagra
buy viagra from safeway
buy viagra pills
buy discount generic viagra
buy online sale viagra viagra
Bug Watch Online
cheap viagra generic
cheap generic 50 mg viagra
cheap herbal viagra
order prescription viagra
buy generic no online prescription viagra
buy sildenafil viagra
buy online prescription viagra
buy diflucan
buy viagra cheap
cheap viagra direct
Click Watch Online
buy viagra online
cheap no prescription viagra
cheapest prescription viagra
order viagra online
order viagra buying viagr
buy line viagra where
cheap kamagra uk viagra
viagra buy do nu
buy now online viagra
viagra canada prescription
buy cheap viagra online uk
buy viagra in great britain
cheapest place to buy viagra online
generic levitra
buy cheap purchase uk viagra
buy viagra here in the uk
buy crestor
buy viagra powered by phpbb
buy depakote
buy caverta
Casino Watch Online
buy viagra cheap online
order viagra buying viagra uk
cheapest cheap viagra
viagra and coupon
buy canada viagra
order viagra now money
cheapest viagra price
buy low price viagra
buy discount online viagra
buy viagra onli
buy canada in viagra
buy viagra in united kingdom
cheap viagra online uk
cheap viagra without a prescription
buy viagra pharmacy online
buy in online uk viagra
cheap pharmaceutical viagra
buy cipro
Cliffhanger Watch Online
buy clomid
order viagra cheap
Bulletproof Watch Online
buy viagra woman
cheapest generic viagra and cialis
buy viagra from an online pharmacy
buy online prescription viagra without
cheap deal discount viagra viagra
viagra and cialis
buy online sale viagra
discount viagra offers
order cialis and viagra
cheap viagra india
buy flomax
viagra by money order
viagra by the pill
buy fosamax
discount viagra online
buy celebrex
cheap order prescription viagra
buy viagra in australia
Bully Watch Online
order viagra onlines
buy viagra soft tabs
discount viagra canada
cheap discount viagra
buy viagra online order generic viagra
buy viagra per pill
buy viagra no prescription
discount viagra viagra
buy deal deal price viagra
order viagra international ships
cheaper viagra levitra apcalis
buy viagra securely online
cheap drugs viagra cialas
buy cheap deal pill viagra
cheap overnight viagra
order discount viagra
cipro 20
order mexican viagra
cheap molde ticket viagra
buy cheap cialis generic levitra viagra
cheapest price for viagra and cialis
buy cheap sale viagra
buy viagra over the counter
buy cheap viagra online now uk
buy viagra low cost
cheapest viagra
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance teen Watch Online
buy online uk viagra
viagra buying online
buy cheap deal viagra viagra viagra
buy real viagra online
cheapest generic viagra
cheapest viagra tablets
buy cheap viagra online
cheapest price viagra
Bugsy Malone Watch Online
cheapest viagra in uk
order viagra overnight delivery
buy locally viagra
order uk viagra
buy cheap discount levitra
cheap viagra online order viagra now
cheap levitra online
buy generic viagra usa
buy viagra over the counter us
buy cheap uk viagra
buy cheap levitra
cheap online softtabs viagra
cialis 1
buy viagra online paypal vipps
order levitra online
buy viagra on the internet
viagra canada price
cheap prescription viagra
buy buying sale viagra
buy online levitra cialis viagra
cheapest viagra on line
cheap herbal viagra viagra
buy cheapest online viagra
cheapest generic substitute viagra
buy online price viagra
buy viagra online discount
buy viagra pill
buy generic viagra img
buy viagra from canada
buy cheap generic viagra
buy online viagra securely
cheapest price for viagra
cheap source viagra
cheap sale viagra
Chicago Watch Online
cheap deal discount price viagra
buy viagra contact us page
discount viagra
discount viagra in the usa
viagra cailis
discount viagra perscription drug
cheap viagra without prescription
cheap free viagra viagra
buy online pill viagra
buy viagra onlines
buy viagra without prescription online pharmacy
buy viagra online pharmacy
Carlitos Way Buy Online
buy cheap viagra online u
order order viagra
buy cheap discount cialis
order viagra canada
buy cost low viagra
order viagra cialis levitra pharmacy
viagra brand
viagra brazil
buy viagra online at cheap price
buy p viagra
cheap viagra credit
buy viagra pill online
cheap viagra in uk
buy cheap p viagra
buy in spain viagra
buy viagra prescription
buy generic viagra buy
buy viagra at the best price
buy viagra other drug online
viagra buy generic
buy viagra for women
cheap viagra cialis india
cheap viagra fast shipping
buy viagra ups
buy pill viagra
cheap generic viagra substitute
buy diet viagra online
buy viagra ebay
Cape Fear Buy Online
order viagra online consumer rx
cheap drug viagra
cheap generic viagra substitutes
cheapest viagra in uk cheap
order cheap viagra fas
usa cialis
cheaper viagra
buy viagra on-line
buy discounted viagra
discount viagra sales
buy viagra internet
cheapest generic silagra viagra
order viagra viagra online
buy pharmacy pill viagra
Bullitt Watch Online
cheapest site viagra
buy cheap online prescription viagra
cheap soft tab viagra
buy cheapest viagra
buy cheap tamiflu
buy sale viagra
buy viagra free on internet
buy pill price price viagra
buy cheap site viagra
buy viagra online uk
buy now viagra
cheapest prices for viagra online
buy claritin
V for Vendetta Watch Online
order cheap viagra
cheap viagra canada
buy coumadin
buy online viagra where
buy in uk viagra
buy viagra now online
cheap viagra online
buy viagra online australia
buy kamagra
buy discount viagra online
viagra buy
buy price viagra
cheapest place buy viagra online
buy deal online online viagra viagra
buy viagra online cheapest
buy viagra online in
cheap online order viagra
buy cialis viagra
buy now cialis
order prescription viagra without
cheap generic substitute viagra
cheap generic viagra uk
buy online online viagra viagra
discount viagra sale online
cheapest generic viagra and cialis pills
buy nexium
buy viagra with discount
buy viagra cheap prices
buy viagra cheap india pharmacy
cheap cialis online
cheap generic viagra from usa
buy viagra all information
viagra by mail canada
cheap generic overnight viagra
cheap viagra 25mg