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Bob Larson Hops Oversupply Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: October 13, 2017

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I’m Bob Larson. A lower than expected growth in the brewing of craft beers last year has left some growers with an oversupply of hops. The USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service says an overstock of roughly 98-million pounds of hops as of September 1st, 15% more than in 2016.

The Washington Hop Commission’s Jaki Brophy says as more varieties are grown, it’s become more difficult to estimate what is needed …

JAKI BROPHY … “Some of the varieties that we have a little bit more in than expected is because people were expecting the growth trend to stay the same. And, so some people are realizing that they committed to maybe a little bit too much of one variety or another than they actually needed to.”

Brophy says adjustments in which varieties are grown happen every year …

JAKI BROPHY … “It just depends. Some people are quite good at being conservative and not expecting that they would grow a huge amount year over year. But, overall, the trend is that we’re seeing is that brewers were a little bit overly enthusiastic in some of their projections so they were all just trying to dial that in and rebalance everything so if one variety isn’t as popular anymore, maybe they would pull that out to plant something that is in higher demand rather than just making new acreage completely and planting the more in-demand variety.”

Brophy says 75 percent of the U.S. hops are grown right here in Washington and, over the past 5 years, production is up 85% thanks, in large part, to the growth of craft breweries.

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