4% of US hop crop burned

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jar

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4% of the US hop crop was burned in a fire at a Yakima warehouse. The CNN article doesn't say what varieties were involved. Hopefully it wasn't a large percentage of a smaller production hop. We'll see what, if anything, this does to hop prices. cnn article
 

the_bird

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Impact From Hop Warehouse Fire Unknown


By SHANNON DININNY Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

YAKIMA, Wash. — Federal investigators were set to begin an investigation into a fire that ruined about 4 percent of the nation's yield of hops, used as flavoring in the brewing of beer and ale.

The fire started shortly before noon Monday PDT in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse operated by S.S. Steiner Inc., one of the four largest hop buyers in the Yakima Valley of central Washington. By mid-afternoon flames engulfed most of the building, sending up plumes of smoke and a pungent aroma.

Municipal fire crews, aided by firefighters and equipment from Gleed, Selah, Union Gap, the East Valley and West Valley fire districts, Yakima County and the Army's Yakima Training Center, ripped away metal siding to shoot water directly onto the hops.

Based on an industry official's estimate of the quantity of hops in the warehouse, the loss could amount to $3.5 million to $4 million. The impact on brewers and beer prices was unclear early Tuesday.

Company President Paul Signorotti would not comment.

The United States produces 24 percent of the world's hops, and about three-fourths of the U.S. crop comes from the Yakima Valley. Hops were a $77 million crop in the state in 2004. More than 40 families grow hops in the valley, which is dotted with orchards, vineyards and farms.

Fires have long been an expensive danger at hop warehouses, largely because of the potential for spontaneous combustion from heat buildup in bales of resin-loaded varieties.

"That's just a possibility that we'll look at," East Valley Deputy Chief Mike Riel told the Yakima Herald-Republic, "but it is very high on the list."

No one was in the warehouse when the fire started, Riel said.

With the fire under control Monday night, authorities told the newspaper an investigation into the cause would be led by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Steiner is part of the Steiner Group of Germany, one of the largest international hop growing, trading and processing companies in the world. The Yakima branch manages Steiner's North American buying and processing, according to the company Web site.

Besides being one of the largest growers in the valley, Steiner is one of three large merchants that buy from other growers in the area. The others are John I. Haas Inc., the grower-owned cooperative Yakima Chief and Hop Union, which specializes in sales to craft brewers.

The fire destroyed or ruined about 10,000 bales, each weighing about 200 pounds and likely worth $1.75 to $2 a pound, Ann George, administrator of the Washington Hops Commission in nearby Moxee, told the Herald-Republic.

"They handle a large volume of the crop, but they have multiple warehouses," George told The Associated Press. "Depending on what variety or varieties were involved in this incident, if it was a variety that was already in short supply, that could have an impact on price and availability."

Seventeen varieties of hops are grown in the United States, including aroma varieties which are added for flavor or fragrance and the bitter alpha varieties.

With a surplus from the late 1990s largely spent, growers have been optimistic about prices for their harvest this year, but some already were disappointed by lower yields for some aroma varieties, such as Willamette, because of high temperatures in July, George said.

"The crop already was somewhat mixed," she said. "If we just burned a substantial volume of an already short crop, this fire will have a much bigger impact."
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/4232375.html
 

Truble

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Figures. I am running low now too. At least it was the harvasted produce, and not some accident or whatever that destoyed the farms themselves.
 

TheJadedDog

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I wouldn't think 4% will have a drastic effect on price, some maybe, but nothing too major. Of course, it's a whole other story if it's a large percentage of only a few types of hops, like, say, amarillo which is already pricey. If that's the case I bet we all start looking for substitutes.
 

Biermann

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yeah, but to put things into an exagerrated perspective: If it were 4% of the petroleum stockpiles that were lost, prices would go up to $5.00 a gallon.

I hope hops don't follow those trends.
 

the_bird

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Yeah, it's not as simple as saying that that a 4% drop in supply means a 4% increase in prices. It depends on the dynamic between supply and demand on the margins. It is interesting that Sam Adams is up about a buck today (bouncing off a bit of a dive last week), so it would seem that traders either aren't all that concerned about the potential for a price increase or don't think it would be too extreme.

I'd make a joke about BMC doing us all a favor and cutting back their hops usage by 4% to make up the difference - but I'm not sure they use enough hops to have an impact!
 

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Some interesting observations from the srticle:

1) ...worth $1.75 to $2 a pound...versus our $12.00 lb or $1.65 oz...

2) ...With a surplus from the late 1990s largely spent, growers have been optimistic about prices for their harvest this year...does that mean our "fresh" hops can be 7 years old already? :confused: :confused: :confused:

Questions, questions...
 

Biermann

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AB is already the biggest hops producer in the US though.

When I toured the St. Louis Brewery, I asked about hops types. . . they replied, "yes, we use hops."

Morons.
 

the_bird

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homebrewer_99 said:
Some interesting observations from the srticle:

1) ...worth $1.75 to $2 a pound...versus our $12.00 lb or $1.65 oz...
If you buy them in bulk from places like hopsdirect (I would if I could store them properly), they can be $5 - $6 per pound (depending on variety). Someday I'll have a chest freezer and will be able to buy them by the pound.

You can also buy a 200lb bale of Cascade leaf hops for $630 ($3.15/lb). Chinook was even a little cheaper, $2.85/lb in BULK.
 

homebrewer_99

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the_bird said:
If you buy them in bulk from places like hopsdirect (I would if I could store them properly), they can be $5 - $6 per pound (depending on variety). Someday I'll have a chest freezer and will be able to buy them by the pound.

You can also buy a 200lb bale of Cascade leaf hops for $630 ($3.15/lb). Chinook was even a little cheaper, $2.85/lb in BULK.
I wish I could get Hallertau's for $6 / lb.:D

I don't like Chinook or Cascades...sorry.
 

the_bird

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Hallertau (GR) Leaf Hops
A/A 4-4.1%
Classic German aroma hop considered mild and pleasant.

Hallertau (GR) Leaf Hops: 200 lbs. $1050.00 ($5.25/lbs)
Hallertau (GR) Leaf Hops: 100 lbs $525.00 ($5.25/lbs)
Hallertau (GR) Leaf Hops: 50 lbs. $262.50 ($5.25/lbs)
Hallertau (GR) Leaf Hops: 25 lbs. $131.25 ($5.25/lbs)
Hallertau (GR) Leaf Hops: 1 lbs $8.55 (8.55/lb)
http://www.hopsdirect.com/detail.src?SKU=HHALGL&Category=Leaf Hops

You've got to like the EXPENSIVE ones, don'tcha? ;)
 

david_42

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Bet it smelled good though
I've used spent hops (dry hopping) in my BBQ/smoker. They do smell nice!

Too hot this summer, after a record cold spell in Feb. Tough year.

A fire in a hop field AFTER harvest is a good thing. Kills bug eggs & fungus spores, but since the roots are well buried, no problem there.
 

Rhoobarb

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david_42 said:
I've used spent hops (dry hopping) in my BBQ/smoker. They do smell nice!...
:off: Tell me more! Do you use them for smoking food or just for the aroma?!
 

the_bird

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What I'm curious about...

I've heard of using hops to smoke food. I've heard of using smoked malt in beer.

What would happen if you smoked some malt with hops? What would a hops-smoked pale ale taste like? Like the marijuana brew? Like an old ashtray?

Or something wonderful?...
 

Dude

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the_bird said:
What I'm curious about...

I've heard of using hops to smoke food. I've heard of using smoked malt in beer.

What would happen if you smoked some malt with hops? What would a hops-smoked pale ale taste like? Like the marijuana brew? Like an old ashtray?

Or something wonderful?...
Worth a try!
 

Rhoobarb

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Dude said:
Rhoobarb, I made THIS the other night. Hit the jackpot, IMHO.
Looks dee-vine! I've got a lot of homegrown Cascades. Maybe I'll try this with some of those! Thanks!:mug:

What got me was David's statement that he used spent hops. I figured spent hops would've given up most of their aroma/flavor compounds in the boil and wouldn't have much leftover. But I could be entirely wrong!
 

Dude

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Rhoobarb said:
Looks dee-vine! I've got a lot of homegrown Cascades. Maybe I'll try this with some of those! Thanks!:mug:

What got me was David's statement that he used spent hops. I figured spent hops would've given up most of their aroma/flavor compounds in the boil and wouldn't have much leftover. But I could be entirely wrong!
I haven't tried it with leaf hops yet, I used some older pellets I had. Don't know if there would be a difference. I was really impressed with that recipe. You could actually taste the smoked hops in the chicken.
 
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