Hop Farmers Cautioned Against Greater Craft Beer Growth

Despite an all-time high in hop production, U.S. farmers should not expect much greater growth in demand for the beer ingredient.

So suggests Hop Growers of America, a trade association focused on grower support, in their 2017 Statistical Report.

Released late last month, the breakdown of last year’s harvest calculated that U.S. hop acreage increased 79.5% since 2012, while production has spiked by 77%.

Good news, yes, so long as the beer industry remains booming. But a recent slowdown in craft beer volume has the association concerned that farmers could overproduce.

“While global hop demand appears to be on the rise thanks to burgeoning international craft beer cultures, many industry leaders cautioned against additional acreage being added in the U.S. for the 2018 crop,” the association said in a press release. “All key indicators suggest current aroma hop demand has largely been satisfied by the unprecedented expansion of U.S. acreage in recent years.” 

“Industry leaders also encouraged brewers to continue contracting for forecasted hop needs but advised to do so cautiously and pragmatically given the unpredictability of craft consumer demand and the recent slow down of craft volume growth,” the release added.

Data in the report focused on the three main Pacific Northwest producing states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho – plus the 26 additional producing states outside of that region which account for only 2% of the annual U.S. harvest.

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