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

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Labor Pains

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.


Read more...

LEED for weed

News
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
012815-potcarbon-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

What is the impact of the legal pot industry on carbon emissions? An NEBC energy forum breakfast makes the case for taking the new industry’s emissions impacts seriously.


Read more...

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


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