America’s craft beer craze causing a hops shortage
Craft brewers love their hops.
Their obsession with these flowers — a key ingredient that can make beer bitter, floral, earthy or citrusy, depending on the variety — has changed the beer industry. Hoppy flavor is best experienced in an India Pale Ale, and for serious hop overload pick up a bottle of Moylan’s Hopsickle or Stone Ruination .
America’s growing infatuation with craft beer has changed the farming business as well. The average price for all hops rose to $3.59 a pound in 2013, from $1.88 a pound in 2004. For the specialty hops often preferred by craft brewers, the price increases to around $7 to $10 a pound.
The average beer uses about 0.2 pound of hops in every 31 gallons, Businessweek reports , but craft brewers can use as much as 1.25 pounds.
Brewer demand seems to be centering around the aroma varieties of hops, which cost more because they don’t yield as much, Businessweek reports. And farmers are adjusting their crops to meet that demand.
In Washington state, the epicenter of U.S. hop farming, some 60 percent of hop acreage is devoted to aroma hops and 40 percent to the alpha hops that bring more bitterness to beers. Years ago, […]