Hop and Malt Prices

If you check out other beer blogs, you’ve probably heard that hops are in short supply in this 2007 harvest, and prices are going through the roof. I’m trying to contract out some hops for this next year, and most places don’t believe they have enough supply to enter into those contracts this late in the game. Even if they could sell me the hops I want, prices are about double of 2006 harvest prices. So what the hell am I going to do?

I’m in the process of securing all the hops I’ll need for the year by getting my hands on what’s left over from the 2006 harvest. I’ve been able to get Czech Saaz, Styrian Goldings, US Sterling, German Magnum, US Warrior, and US Summit. I have 440 lbs. of hops in inventory, and I’ll be buying more in an attempt to hold me over until the 2008 harvest. All of these are vaccum sealed and have been cold stored (and are now stored at 10 below), so they should be very fresh. Most of my hop usage is for bittering, so I’m somewhat fortunate to be focusing on Belgian-style beers, seeing that most are in the 15 – 35 IBU range and tend not to have too much in the way of aroma hops. I’m a big fan of IPA’s and Double IPA’s, so I hope this shortage and price hike doesn’t affect those styles too much.

As for malt prices, they are expected to climb 50 – 100%. There isn’t much I can do about that, but I haven’t heard of any talk of not being able to secure malt without a contract. I’ll be looking into this more. It doesn’t help that I don’t have a silo– bulk storage of grain is out of the question for me right now.

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