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

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

Election Season

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We didn’t intend this issue to have an election season theme. But politics has a way of seeping into the cracks and fissures.


Read more...

Fly Zone

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.


Read more...

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


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