Pricey hops make a bitter brew

| Print |  Email
Friday, February 01, 2008

PouringBeer.jpg

STATEWIDE Beer makers across the state are facing a brew as bitter — though not nearly as refreshing — as a hoppy Oregon pale ale.

Weak hop harvests the past two years — the result of bad weather stateside and overseas — and a gradual decline in production have converged in a shortage of the spicy, bitter flowers that give beer its bite. As a result, prices have increased from roughly $2 a pound in 2006 to close to $20 today, but that’s assuming a brewer can even find any hops.

“Everybody’s in a mass frenzy right now,” says Mark Henion, head brewer for Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. in Redmond.

Such a shortage — paired with other ingredient shortfalls and price increases — could eventually hit all of Oregon’s 60-plus craft breweries, which, along with the entire beer industry, poured more than $2.2 billion into the state’s economy in 2006. Beer prices are bubbling up for consumers, as well. There’s been talk of $9 six packs and $5 pints, and indeed, consumers already are seeing some six-pack prices up by as much as $2.

“A lot of people have raised prices,” Henion says, adding that Cascade Lakes raised prices “a little bit” last year.

Mark Vickery, brewmaster at McMinnville’s Golden Valley Brewery, says the shortage also may find brewers venturing into fruit beers or other styles that require fewer hops. And more brewers will likely end up contracting with growers, something Henion has done through 2010 .

“That will be beneficial,” says Michelle Palacios, administrator for the Oregon Hop Commission, “so growers know what brewers want and brewers get what they need.”

Although Oregon’s hop production is down — from 10.2 million pounds in 1998 to 9.5 million last year — Palacios says that compared with the past few years, more hops are going in the ground here and in Washington, and hopes are high that the 2008 overseas harvest will be stout. Weather permitting, brewers and growers seem confident the hop shortage will correct itself in two years. The in-between, however, is likely to be tough.        

JON BELL


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

Much ado about data-driven organizations, for good reason

Contributed Blogs
Monday, April 13, 2015
bigdatathumbBY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.


Read more...

Celestial Eats

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER AND EILEEN GARVIN

A power lunch at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar.


Read more...

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Male tech workers speak out on the industry's gender troubles.


Read more...

5 highlights from the Angel Oregon Showcase

The Latest
Thursday, April 23, 2015
IMG 5069BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well at the Oregon Angel showcase, an annual event for angel investors and early stage entrepreneurs.


Read more...

Make the Case

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015

10 briefcases that mean business.


Read more...

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS