Published on March 6, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour


America hopping around

British brewers in general and those in the North East in particular have been enchanted by American hops for several years now. Their intense fruitiness, aroma-rich and floral nature helps create modern craft beers that create great interest among the drinking public and allows the beers’ creators to experiment with all-action flavours as never before.

The annual Statistical Report from Hop Growers of America reveals data on the three main Pacific Northwest (PNW) producing states – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho – and 26 additional states outside of the that defined area which is approximately 2% of US production, demonstrating how much of an influence the PNW wields.

Some statistics emerging are:

US hop acreage has increased 79.5% since 2012 and production by 77%.

For the first time, Idaho has surpassed Oregon in production to become the second-highest hop producing state at 13.2%. Washington and Oregon were at 75.4% and 11.4%, respectively.

The alpha to aroma/dual purpose hops ratio has shifted from approximately 50/50 in 2012 to 80/20 in 2017.

Increase in customer demand for aromas has meant an increase in production costs for farms, increasing infrastructure and capacities.

The yields for 2017 jumped up 14% from 2016 thanks to maturing “baby” (newly planted) hops and more favourable weather conditions.

While global hop demand appears to be on the rise thanks to burgeoning international craft beer cultures, many industry leaders caution against additional acreage being added in the US for the 2018 crop. All key indicators suggest current aroma hop demand has largely been satisfied by the unprecedented expansion of US acreage in recent years.

Conversely, many reports also indicate current global alpha inventories are insufficient for market demands as the global brewing industry has finally worked through decade-long surpluses.

About the Author

Alastair Gilmour

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