Author Topic: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage  (Read 1849 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 03:32:01 PM »
I think this is supposed to make panic.


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Offline duboman

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2014, 03:47:54 PM »
Being  in a growing related field I firmly believe it's an issue and will continue to be as craft brewing continues to explode but the growers are right to not simply expand and then get stuck.

Knowing brewers getting in the commercial game I hear them lament at the difficulty they have getting certain varieties and the contracts they have to battle for to ensure their popular beers remain the same.

My belief is that if you brew great beer your followers will adjust, find and use hops that you can get and be creative, that's what craft is all about and it can be used to sell creativity and save money at the same time if it's done the right way.

Eventually things will even out as the producers start to catch up to the brewers demands but nature works a lot slower than brewers:)

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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2014, 04:07:21 PM »

My belief is that if you brew great beer your followers will adjust, find and use hops that you can get and be creative, that's what craft is all about and it can be used to sell creativity and save money at the same time if it's done the right way.




+1.  I love Amarillo, Simcoe, (and like Citra in small doses), but great beer can be made with lots of lesser used hops.  Plus, experimenting with hops is fun !
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Offline duboman

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2014, 04:23:35 PM »


My belief is that if you brew great beer your followers will adjust, find and use hops that you can get and be creative, that's what craft is all about and it can be used to sell creativity and save money at the same time if it's done the right way.




+1.  I love Amarillo, Simcoe, (and like Citra in small doses), but great beer can be made with lots of lesser used hops.  Plus, experimenting with hops is fun !

Absolutely and that's my point, almost every beer I find on the shelves these days is all about the popular hops and honestly, it gets kind of old and they all start tasting the same, change up the hops and experiment with styles and keep things fresh, if the end product is good and you market it properly it's a win win for everyone!
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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2014, 04:31:34 PM »
Totally agree. I even use noble hops in hop blends, to get a slightly different character outside the norm. And a blend of the same 4 hops can give surprisingly different results if you change the ratios of each in different directions. Lots of possibilities.
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2014, 06:15:13 PM »
+1.  Hop Contracts exist for a reason.  The biggest shortage would fall on the homebrewer if the small craft brewer wont pick up a contract.  The Homebrew distributors have contracts to fullfil supply to their HBS,  Since craft brewers dont tend to pay retail prices, i think we will be ok for MOST varietals.  If you are worried about certain varietals grab a few lbs at harvest time and store them in a freezer,  that is all the distributors do anyway:D

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Offline theoman

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2014, 12:41:50 AM »
Reading the responses in this thread makes me happy. I love you guys!

Seriously, forcing brewers to take a step back, try some different hops or maybe focus on malt flavors would be good. And maybe a little bad. I have a feeling a lot of the startups will be closing faster that anticipated.

OTOH, what will the growers' response be? Planting more? New and/or heartier varieties? Giving up?

The fun isn't over yet.

Offline duboman

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2014, 07:04:51 AM »

Reading the responses in this thread makes me happy. I love you guys!

Seriously, forcing brewers to take a step back, try some different hops or maybe focus on malt flavors would be good. And maybe a little bad. I have a feeling a lot of the startups will be closing faster that anticipated.

OTOH, what will the growers' response be? Planting more? New and/or heartier varieties? Giving up?

The fun isn't over yet.

It's highly likely that some of the start ups will ultimately fail, that's the natural progression of a boom in an industry but I think failure will come from poor business plans or crappy beer, not the ability to procure hops.

This is one reason why the growers are not going all out in simply ramping up acreage and production. It takes too long to develop fields and product with no guarantee that demand will continue at the same rate as a constant, then they're stuck with over supply and money lost in the investment.

Additionally, if the suggestions above are employed, what they grew as the popular hops may no longer be the most demanded hops any more.
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Offline SiameseMoose

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2014, 07:29:42 AM »
It's all well and good to say brewers should just try different varieties, but it's not that simple. A small brewer here uses Perle for bittering in their German styles, and the boxes coming in are suddenly half the alpha acids as previously. Now their contract won't supply nearly enough hops. And before you say it doesn't matter what variety is used for bittering, their test batches having tried a selection of likely candidates for replacement have all been noticeably inferior. I would not have believed it if I hadn't tasted the beers myself.

I'm all for trying lots of different hop varieties. I think I have 15 different ones in my freezer right now. But for a commercial brewer they have to sell a consistent product. You can't just up and change your favor profile and not upset the market. Most of the people drinking their beer are not homebrewers, and expect the same taste each time. The brewers are now spending a fair amount of time on the phone trying to line up additional supplies.
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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2014, 07:33:48 AM »

 I think failure will come from poor business plans or crappy beer, not the ability to procure hops.



+1. There is a startup (or two) 'round here that put out subpar beer that has nothing to do with their hop choices/availability.
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2014, 07:37:21 AM »
It's all well and good to say brewers should just try different varieties, but it's not that simple. A small brewer here uses Perle for bittering in their German styles, and the boxes coming in are suddenly half the alpha acids as previously. Now their contract won't supply nearly enough hops. And before you say it doesn't matter what variety is used for bittering, their test batches having tried a selection of likely candidates for replacement have all been noticeably inferior. I would not have believed it if I hadn't tasted the beers myself.

Sadly this is short sighted on this particular brewer.  AA changes every year (and varies greatly with region the hop was grown in) and relying on a set amount of hops when you cant predict the AA is nuts.  As someone else said, having the flexibility of using different hops is something that people must learn to do, especially in the pro world.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2014, 07:39:27 AM »

It's all well and good to say brewers should just try different varieties, but it's not that simple. A small brewer here uses Perle for bittering in their German styles, and the boxes coming in are suddenly half the alpha acids as previously. Now their contract won't supply nearly enough hops. And before you say it doesn't matter what variety is used for bittering, their test batches having tried a selection of likely candidates for replacement have all been noticeably inferior. I would not have believed it if I hadn't tasted the beers myself.

I'm all for trying lots of different hop varieties. I think I have 15 different ones in my freezer right now. But for a commercial brewer they have to sell a consistent product. You can't just up and change your favor profile and not upset the market. Most of the people drinking their beer are not homebrewers, and expect the same taste each time. The brewers are now spending a fair amount of time on the phone trying to line up additional supplies.

I'm not suggesting that it's that simple and I get the consistency thing, all I'm suggesting is that with some R and D and a good marketing plan it's in the realm of possibility, especially for the smaller creative breweries that just don't have the buying power of the larger breweries, these are the ones that are having a harder time from what I understand since the big boys have contracts locked up for several years
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Craft beer boom causing hops shortage
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2014, 09:02:46 AM »
These blog posts give good insight into the situation.
http://blog.47hops.com/2014/06/2014-state-of-us-hop-industry.html
http://blog.47hops.com/2014/06/greedy-growers-and-dirty-dealers.html

The Second article has some great points,  But it makes you wonder how it would reflect on the secondary HBS market.  The average hop seems to sell for about 2 dollars an OZ.  Id bet the average grower is selling hops in bulk for about 2 dollars a lb.  IF the bulk price doubles or triples(which the average HBS very probably do not have the clout to access)will the prices of per ounce hops also double.  My guess is no.  They may see an increase of 20%, but the profit margin in OZ hops already seems to be quite high, even when taking in to account packaging time and cost.
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