Craft beer boom creates hops shortage
Skyrocketing craft beer sales and increasing demand from drinkers are creating a shortage of a key ingredient: hops.
Hops give beer its bitterness, and craft beers use significantly more than commercially made brews, reports The Indianapolis Star .
Flavor is king in the beer boom. Ann George, administrator of Washington-based Hop Growers of America , said craft brewers average 1.2 pounds of hops per barrel, compared with just a fifth of a pound for the big production brewers.
Craft beer sales in 2013 grew by 20% over the previous year, according to the Brewers Association , an organization of professional and home brewers. It now accounts for $14.8 billion of the $100 billion beer market.
Due to increased demand, hop prices rose from $1.44 a pound in 2004 to $3.59 a pound in 2013, according to a Hop Growers of America statistic, cited by the Indianapolis Star .
Hops are grown primarily in moist climates of the Pacific Northwest, according to the Brewers Association. In Washington state, farmers increased production last year to keep up with demand, harvesting more than 54.9 million pounds of hops, up 13% from 2012, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures cited by the Tri-City Herald . Until recently, […]