This Week In Brews – Beer News
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This week’s beer news from Britain and around the world.
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The booming beer market has resulted in an influx of new customers for producers of hops, with many expecting that they will simply not be able to fill orders in the coming years.
The strains of hops used in today’s craft beers are less productive when growing and brewers need lots more of them to hop their beers. As a result, the number of orders that can be fulfilled is declining, in a time where demand for hops is increasing.
According to Alison Capper of the British Hops Association, the 2014 crop is “pretty much sold out“. And that’s for British hops – the trend for craft beer has seen British brewers use a lot more American hops. Hops take time to grow, and with the rate that new breweries are opening growers simply can’t keep up with demand.
This fact has no doubt contributed to the price rise the hop market has seen in the last decade. Before the craft beer boom exploded in the states, large lager breweries bought most of the hop harvest. Now craft breweries want many different varieties and in much larger quantities. Small breweries will do anything to get their hands on those precious little cones, with some hop prices doubling in the past 5 years.
This news was always on the cards, but it’s odd that it comes in the same week as an article shared heavily in the British beer community. Posted on The Guardian’s Comment is Free site, “First they came for our beers, now we’ve hit peak craft beer“, Harriet Walker decries the news that our hops are running low and blames the shortage on the craft drinker. The piece was a sneering rant about hipsters and trends, unfortunately shoehorned into news of hop shortages.
It was an ad hominem attack on the craft beer drinkers of London mainly, with no real discussion of what craft beer is outside of the hipster outposts and a total disregard for many independent breweries. For instance, the only craft breweries mentioned were BrewDog and Sierra Nevada. Seemingly, all craft breweries are million-pound operations who can increase the price of their beers because they will be bought by the foolish “Camden try-hards” with more money than sense. It would probably be news to Walker that craft beer is not defined as “the expensive, weird stuff posers buy and we feel like we should pretend to enjoy too.” That may all she has seen of craft beer, and if this is the case she is in no position to write an article about it.
In happier news, today was the final day of American Craft Beer Week, a nationwide celebration of craft beer. There will be similar celebrations at the beginning of net month here in Wales as the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival kicks off as part of the Millennium Stadium’s W-Ales Festival. Concurrent to the festival, Tiny Rebel’s Urban Tap House, the closest pub to the stadium, will be holding a festival of their own, with the possibility that they will have a larger number of different beers available than the Great Welsh. It could become the biggest beer festival in the country, while the biggest venue in the country hosts the old one.
Photo Credits Bernt Rostad Christopher Murphy Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.
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