First a hop shortage, now, too many hops

Will we ever win?

A year ago the big story in the brewing world was a worldwide shortage of hops; a perfect storm of poor crops and high demand.  Prices for hops rose dramatically.

In response to that shortage, more acreage was devoted to hops.

Guess what?  Now there’s too many hops.  Seriously.

Little articles like this one in the Seattle PI have been popping up declaring there are more hops than demand for them.  Some  blame the recession.  I’m sure the two hop plants I cultured this summer didn’t help either.

So will this lead to lowered prices for homebrewers like you and me, and microbreweries in general?  Probably not significantly.  The unwanted hops will most likely  be left on the vines to rot.

You can’t really blame the farmers; it doesn’t really make sense to harvest a crop that won’t cover the expense of the harvesting.

Still… it’s a shame.  Maybe the unwanted harvest could be marketed as u-pick hops?  Let homebrewers come in and pick the hops they want and pay by the pound?  Wishful thinking, no doubt.

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