MOXEE, WA ... Craft breweries in the U.S. are continuing to surpass the previously held record of 4,131 breweries as held in 1873. Due to this growth and increasingly higher hopping rates, demand for hops has increased heavily, and the US hop industry has responded with major increases for the fourth straight year.
After a 15.4% increase in acres harvested in the US in 2015, a 10.2% increase in 2014, a 10.3% increase in 2013, and a 7.2% increase in 2012, acreage has jumped up once again. For the second year in a row, U.S. hop acreage has surpassed previous records to reach all time highs. With 53,213 total acres strung for harvest in the U.S., that’s a whopping 8,303 new acres from 2015 – a 18.5% increase.
“The US hop industry has been in catch-up mode in recent years as the supply of craft-popular US aroma hops has lagged behind the dramatic growth of the craft brewing sector in both domestic and overseas markets. The 2016 acreage expansion is once again a direct response to market demand and does not happen overnight. It requires significant planning and commitment of industry resources,” said Pete Mahoney, Vice President, Supply Chain/Purchasing at John I. Haas.
The Pacific Northwest led this expansion by planting 17% more acres of hops (7,482 acres) along with adding additional production capacity. With approximately 70% of new acreage being high demand proprietary varieties, 51,115 acres represent a new record for the region.
According to the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service, craft-popular Cascade continues to hold the lead with 7,371 acres, and Centennial overtook bittering hop CTZ this year for second place with 5,009 acres.
“We’re very pleased with the U.S. hop industry's ability to respond to the demands of a burgeoning craft brewing industry. However, we caution growers and brewers alike to remember the cyclical nature of a mature hop market, and the fine line between ample and over-supply which causes instability in supply and prices. Given the permanent nature of planting additional hops and the significant investment required to do so, restraint and an understanding of long time partnerships will be required from all involved to ensure a steady supply in the near and distant future,” said Kevin Riel, 4th generation US Hop Grower and Hop Growers of America President.
The hop market has historically been quite cyclical, with relatively recent dramatic peaks and valleys in acreage. Dramatic growth in hop usage by brewers in recent years, particularly in the craft sector, has driven the recent expansion and encouraged growers in regions outside of the PNW to try their hand with the crop.
Washington’s Yakima Valley leads US production with 37,475 acres, representing over 70% of the country’s acreage. Oregon and Idaho follow with 7,669 and 5,971 acres respectively. Michigan, the leader outside of the PNW, has an estimated 650 acres in production with more under development. The total for non-PNW producing states increased in acreage by 64% this year, with 26 states reported 2,098 acres in production, collectively.
Outside of the US, Germany – currently the second largest hop growing country worldwide – reported in April that 45,503 acres were expected to produce hops this year. This is a 10% increase from 2015, with 4,205 new acres.
Hop Growers of America (HGA) promotes American grown hops to brewers and merchants of hops both domestically and internationally. HGA facilitates conversations between growers, merchants, and brewers, providing statistical reports to the industry and education on the quality, variety, and tradition of U.S. grown hops. For more information, visit: www.usahops.org/
N.W. Beer Guide