For a long time as a beer drinker I have been watching some of my favorite beers slowly crawl upward in price. The explosions of microbreweries across America and a renewed interest in “good quality” beers, have every Tom, Dick and yes even Marry, thinking they can make a better beer.
While I do not have any “hard evidence” or exact statistics it seems to me what has not grown alongside of the explosion of micro-breweries: is the source of quality ingredients. Not the least of which is hops.
And many of the beer companies know this. In fact, this long time issue in its height saw Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company offering to sell 20,000 lbs of his already purchased hops to other craft brewers at his cost. And, they had to limit the amount per brewery to allow maximum distribution.
In May it was reported by KWQC Chanel 6 that: an Iowa Farmer in Solon, has begun farming it. Hoping to cash in on the profits. But Hops farming aint easy. It takes about 3 years get mature crops of hops. (Say that 3 times fast.)
But with intensely “hoppy” beers like IPA’s taking off in popularity, finding certain varieties of hops and lots of it, well – for micro-breweries and even amateur brewers it is getting to be more and more difficult. I can only assume that with the growth of the micro-brew industry that has been exploding in the last 4 – 5 years it seems obvious there’s going to be an even bigger shortage in hops.
With that being said; Perhaps I should make a pilgrimage to my family’s farm in upstate New York, and perhaps “Plant the seed” if you’ll pardon the pun, to get in on this market.