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The humanity! Worldwide hops shortage

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Flash, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. Flash

    Flash Guest

    This must be stopped! We must find new ways to produce this valuable crop.


    Beer drinkers could have a tough time swallowing a price hike as local breweries face a worldwide hops shortage and scramble to fill their shelves with the vital ingredient.

    That not enough of the hops are being grown has led to a huge shortage, said Ralph Olson, owner of Hopunion, a Washington-based supplier to several Calgary microbreweries -- with some industry analysts predicting a 10% increase in beer prices as a result.

    "In 1994 there was 234,000 acres in the world, last year there was 113,000, this year there's 118,000 -- that should say it right there," said Olson.

    The problem can be traced back 14 years, when more acres of hops were being grown than needed and excess inventory was sold at cheap prices, creating a depressed market, Olson said.

    An exodus of growers who began to sell or develop their hops-growing land has only exacerbated the current crunch.

    "It's a perfect storm -- in 30 years, I've never seen it this extreme," Olson said.

    Breweries are going to have to be flexible or ultimately shut down, he said.

    "If it's not there, if it's not available, what are you going to do?" he asked.

    And customers could be forced to switch their alcoholic tastes if the crop shortage spurs an increase in beer prices, said Paul Dhillon, spokesman of the Alberta Independent Liquor Retailer Association and president of Stampede Liquor.

    "If prices go up, consumers will change to some other spirits or wine ... that are much better for their buck," he suggested.

    But while local microbrewery Wild Rose doesn't have immediate plans to raise prices, the company is nevertheless panicking to secure hops, said general manager Mike Tymchuk.

    "The only thing we've had to change is now we have to secure an annual inventory," rather than just phoning suppliers when necessary, he said.

    "A lot's changed on the logistic front on how we're looking to get hops in the future."

    Tymchuk said not using hops, which gives beer its flavour and aroma and acts as a preservative, would make the product virtually unrecognizable.

    "It's part and parcel of India Pale Ale," he said.

    Big Rock Brewery spokeswoman Jessica Barrie said the company braced itself when it noticed the lowered crop yields earlier in the year.

    It has reserved its quantity for 2010.

    "We always look to see what happens to be prepared," she said.
  2. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    The only thing that might unite people in the fight against global warming is a beer shortage.

    (Note: I know global warming wasn't mentioned in the story. It was a joke.)
  3. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Beer .... unifying the world. Let us all join hands and sing "Kum-Bud-Ya, my Lord ... Kim-Bud-Ya."
  4. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    Flashie, you're early on April Fool's Day ... or is this another one of those rogue Canadian holidays.
  5. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I blame it on Sam Adams, putting too much hops in its not-so-micro-brewed beers since 1984.
  6. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Canadians would NEVER celebrate a shortage of hops. Blasphemer!
  7. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    It's a Miller Lite-like joke then.
  8. Kaylee

    Kaylee Member

    And just think, five minutes ago I was watching a supremely wacko woman on "Intervention" chug mouthwash in lieu of alcohol and thinking "Geez...I could never be that desperate."
  9. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I saw that episode. Mouthwash?!?
    I've heard of vanilla extract, but mouthwash?
  10. Sconnie

    Sconnie Member

    At the risk of jacking this thread, what is everyone's favorite local brew? Personally, I love me some Spotted Cow from New Glarus (Wis.) Brewery.
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