windowthroughtime

A wry view of life for the world-weary

Bad News Of The Week

hops

This week I learned that one of the consequences of the hot and dry summer weather experienced in Europe last summer is a serious shortage of hops, the essential ingredient for our pint of beer and for what are known as craft ales.

Germany’s harvest fell by some 27% last year and there were also sharp falls in the hop yields in countries like the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Although crop yields were better in the United States, the extra output is insufficient to make up the shortfall. The result is inevitably an increase in the price of hops, which have already seen a 20% rise.

Good news for hop farmers, bad news for brewers, particulalry brewers of craft ales, who are generally small-scale producers and who use a higher percentage of hops in their recipes than the larger, more industrial brewers. They are likely to feel the pinch most as they are least likely, because of size and purchasing power, to have protected themselves against price rises.

The almost inevitable conclusion is that prices at the bar will increase and some smaller, independent brewers may be forced to sell to the large brewing conglomerates anxious to get a piece of the craft ale action.

Makes you want to turn to drink!

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