Every single beer on the market today contains hops and that alone makes the progress of the each year’s hop crops super-important.
To prosper hops need long days and short nights. And because of that, most commercial hop production takes place between 40 degrees and 50 degrees latitude in regions around the world.
Europe has been plagued by soaring temperatures and drought this summer and that doesn’t bode well for one of the world’s largest hop producing regions.
Estimates from BarthHaas, a major hop producer in Europe, suggest that hop harvests this year will be substantially lower than average in Germany and the Czech Republic, bringing more woe to brewers across Europe.
Germany, the world’s second biggest producer of hops, is projected to experience an 18% drop in its annual yield compared to 2021.
Spalt, which is just south of Nuremberg, Germany has the severest predicted drop, with a 32.6% deviation from the average crop. Hallertau (in Bavaria), which produces almost a quarter of the world’s hops according to some estimates, is also expected to produce an 18.5% below average yield according to BarthHaas.
The Czech Republic’s forecast of a 4.7 ton hop harvest is a 3.6 ton drop from last year’s record crop.
Society of Independent Brewers’ head of public affairs, Barry Watts, told the Drinks Business that reduced hop supplies would: “inevitably have an impact on brewers and beer in the UK”.
While there is hop cultivation in the United Kingdom, especially in the West Midlands and South East of England, the average harvest is about 30 times less than what Germany typically produces.
These shortages have only compounded the problems UK brewers have been facing this summer, Watts added…
“We’ve already lost around 60 small breweries this year and more are on the brink because of the mounting list of challenges.
The US hop crop, which is based primarily in the Pacific Northwest, seems to be faring better…
In early July, Yakima Chief Hops noted it was looking like an “average” or “normal” crop for the 2022 season.
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