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Old 12-01-2008, 06:19 PM   #1
hungrymonkey
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Default school me on the hop shortage

I am new to the hobby, so I have not been following ingredient trends for very long.

But I noted everyone and the retailers mentioning a hop shortage.

So, what is the background on this?

imports? infection? the election? BATF? Lunar cycle?


Seems like this and all my other hobbies are getting more expensive.

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Old 12-01-2008, 06:23 PM   #2
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The hop shortage in terms of cause and effect has been documented well in other posts about the hop shortage on this forum, the search feature will help you learn a lot here. At this point there is still a shortage, but no where near as bad as it was last winter. I can once again find the varieties I need either online or at my LHBS, most places no longer limit the quantities of hops you can buy, so if you want to buy a couple pounds they won't turn their heads the way they did last year if you bought more than 4oz of hops.

In that respect things are better than they were, but the price is still nearly 4 times as high as they used to be, so the scarcity has driven up the price, but finding certain kinds is not impossible.

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Old 12-01-2008, 06:31 PM   #3
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I did a search on the word shortage. But only came up with one thread that sited a news article blaming the Euro, and a price glut a few years ago.

Was looking for a little bit more of an explanation.

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Old 12-01-2008, 06:32 PM   #4
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Besides the HUUUGE amount of threads about it here and the rest of the web, the latest issue of BYO magazine has an update.

Also there are several podcasts on basic brewing that discusses it as well Basic Brewingâ„¢ : Home Brewing Beer Podcast and DVD - Basic Brewing Radioâ„¢

And this....

Let me google that for you

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Old 12-01-2008, 06:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hungrymonkey View Post
I did a search on the word shortage. But only came up with one thread that sited a news article blaming the Euro, and a price glut a few years ago.

Was looking for a little bit more of an explanation.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/search.php?searchid=2679332

It's just that it is such a big deal that the info's all over the place.
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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Over production led to an increase in reserves and a decrease in price. Hop prices actually were so low, it was no longer profitable to plant fields in N.America, so everyone stopped. A few years later, the reserves dried up, but noone had been planting hops for a few years, and as supply fell, prices rose.

Combine this will an absolutely terrible growing season in Europe where Hallertaus came in at less than half the IBU they usually come in at, and they got I believe about 1/3 of their harvest due to late season storms.

England has been cutting back on growing for a while now. The very popular English varieties like Kent Goldings and Fuggles are in high demand, and they're just isn't a lot to go around.

So these combined into the perfect storm last winter, the harvests were aweful, the ones harvested didn't stack up, the harvests were smaller than usuall, growers had switched to more profitable crops, and reserves ran out.

This years harvest was better, but it takes a couple years for new fields to produce, so all that were planted this year to combat the shortage, won't be ready till next. The hops from Europe came in better this year too with a better yield. The shortage has gotten much better than it used to be, and by next year when the new fields start to really produce, it will all be better.

EDIT: Revvy, that let me google it for you thing is cool.

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Old 12-01-2008, 06:45 PM   #7
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Here is a good podcast where Ralph Olsen of Hop Union discusses the hop shortage. Listen to this and get it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/search.php?searchid=2679332

It's just that it is such a big deal that the info's all over the place.
That doesn't validate the letmegooglethatforyou link though. I know that there was humor intended with it, but to me it's just an unnecessary beatdown of a n00b. I'm sure that you wouldn't have appreciated being treated that way when you joined a year ago.

To the OP - As I understand it, the German 2007 crop was almost nil due to excessive weather, and a portion of the English crop was lost to a fire at one of the major hop producers. The American crop was also down because of poor weather conditions.

The 2008 production has increased and if you buy from hops direct or fresh hops (wholesalers) you can get most varieties for around $2/oz. I believe that I read somewhere that hop acerage in the US is estimated to increase by roughly 20% over the next couple of years, so as long as the homebrewshop owners don't get too greedy, we should be back to more reasonable hop prices next year.
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:34 PM   #9
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Well thats good to know.

I just figured $5 an ounce was the norm. Then I saw mention of a shortage.


I stayed at a hops farm that was owned by a friends father in law. It was a neat operation. This was about 3.5 years ago, I remember him mentioning that hops was not as lucrative as it used to be. Guess he must be doing allright now.

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