|Worldwide Hop Shortage|
Will Homebrewer's get hopping mad or smile over the brew kettle?
Back in October of this year the news of an impending hop shortage claimed that prices will skyrocket for their favorite craft brew and that the price of hops in general would rise to all-time highs. If you are a micro/craft brewer perhaps the situation of the world hop market should be taken very seriously. If you are a homebrewer, how will this affect you?
Supply shortages are estimated between 700 and 1,300 metric tons alpha or approximately 8.6% to 15.5% of the annual worldwide demand due to the poor 2006 European crop. The main factors that have contributed to this situation are that Europe's 2006 crop was ruined by heavy rains; while Australia's was cut by a severe drought and Canada's was "just average. Slovenia (grower of Styrians) lost at least 1/3 and possibly as much as 1/2 of their crop to a hailstorm. England is almost out of the hop business. Their acreage of 2,400 in 2006 (down from 17,000 in 1976) represents only 2 percent of the worldwide acreage. The Czech crop was down 25% and estimated alphas on Czech Saaz from the 2007 crop are 2.7 - 2.9. The German crop is average at best with earlier aroma hops coming in below normal (such as Hallertau Mittelfruh). New Zealand and Australia crops this year (which arrived in the US in June and July) were normal.