Everyone can stop panicking. We reported last week that a hops shortage due to the suffocating drought on the West Coast was imminent, spelling trouble for the craft beer industry. But the claims of hops shortage have largely been overstated, according to the Hops Growers of America. In fact, farmers are expecting 3.5 million more pounds of hops this season than last year. Farmers won’t actually know the impact on next year’s harvest until winter comes.
According to Jaki Brophy, a representative from the Washington Hops Commission, even though the drought has affected all farmers across the state, each variety of hops reacts differently in different climates, and some have actually thrived under the current dry spell.
“With such a large increase in demand for hops fueled by craft and specialty brewers, growers planned accordingly: securing more land, upgrading equipment, and addressing other improvements involved in the growing process,” said Ann George, executive director of the Washington Hops Commission, in a recent press release.
As for increased beer prices going forward, the Hops Commission said that there could be some inflation, especially among the more popular hops varieties, but that most of the costs will be absorbed by the growers.