Are Hops Shortages Really Something Craft Beer Drinkers Need to Worry About?

by The Drink Nation on Mar 4, 2014 in Beer
 Are Hops Shortages Really Something Craft Beer Drinkers Need to Worry About?

Voices of doom would like to have you believe that there’s a hops crisis brewing, and that it’s only a matter of time until we are facing an all but certain craft-beer-mageddon.

Apparently, more than half of the domestic hops supply is currently being used by America’s 2,500-plus breweries. What’s more, hops consumption is steadily on the rise. Esquire cites statistics from the American Hop Convention to show there’s been an increase by as much as 2 million pounds of the precious bittering agent from 2012 to 2013. That number is expected to jump again to 18.6 million pounds in 2014.

Those two things and an expected increase of as many as 1,500 more indie beer-making concerns that are set to launch over the course of the coming months has some sounding the alarm over a coming shortage of those piney and resinous little green nugs.

 And those fears don’t even take into account the debilitating drought conditions that have plagued Western states this year.

But before you totally freak out and start hoarding all the Pliney, HopSlam, Nugget Nectar and Heady Topper that’s still out there, take comfort in knowing that for as long as there’s been a thriving craft beer movement in the U.S., there’s always been a risk of hops shortages.

There were bigger hops scares in both 2007 and 2008. The latter combined with the housing market crash, the ensuing economic downfall that followed and a worldwide grain shortage had the Chicken Littles amongst us clucking about an all out craft beer collapse.

If last year’s unprecedented 9.6 percent craft beer industry growth spurt says anything about looming hops shortages, it’s that the crisis is anything but catastrophic.

Photo: Flickr user epicbeer


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