Home Archives February 2008 Pricey hops make a bitter brew

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

Fast Food Slows Down

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

The ubiquitous fast-food restaurant may be on the decline.


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

Fork & Bottle

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


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