U.S. Hops Shortage Threatens Swedish Brews

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Sweden’s microbrew scene is in alarm over potential hops shortage
Wikimedia/Tim Bartel
An impending U.S. hops shortage is threatening Stockholm's burgeoning microbrew scene.

The microbrew trend has caught on around the world, but that could create problems for some brewers, as increased demand for hops means there might not be enough to go around this year.

According to The Local, The U.S. hops grower’s trade association said it might be difficult to meet the growing demand for hops in the next year.

“They can’t keep growing at the rate the beer world demands,” said Peter Högström, a buyer for a Swedish hops wholesaler. “The shortage of notably fruity American and New Zealand hops will increase, at least if brewers continue to increase production of IPA.”

Brewing an India Pale Ale requires three or four times the hops of an average beer, Högström said.

Magnus Lindroos, another Stockholm hops wholesaler, said he thinks brewers are not yet aware of the potential hops crunch, which could lead to rising prices or some varieties not being available at all. He’s been recommending that Stockholm’s microbrewers stock up now, as he anticipates everyone will know about the shortage by October.

Stockholm Brewing Co.’s Michael Ahlin Wigardt is one brewer who is aware of the impending hops shortage, and he says he’s been stocking up and has already reserved a supply from the late summer harvest.

“We have quite a lot and we have pre-booked some,” he said. “We are also using European varieties that will be available.”

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