This year’s hop crop in Germany is expected to be 20.4% below last year’s volume of 47,862 tons, according to the newest crop report by BarthHaas, a leading global supplier of hop products and related services. Particularly the early maturing varieties (Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Northern Brewer, Hallertauer Tradition, Perle) are affected by drought and the long-lasting heat wave in Europe and will yield poorly. Rainfalls towards the end of August are giving hope for the later maturing varieties that still have time to recover. Early alpha acid screening indicates, as can be expected, that alpha acid levels will also be below their respective long-term average.
The other European growing areas have seen similar conditions and crop expectations are a mixed bag compared to 2021. After a record crop in 2021 the Czech Republic is in store for a very poor crop this year.
Despite "robust demand" worldwide, the situation is still comparatively relaxed as there are still enough old stocks from previous years to compensate for deficits. However, these are not necessarily available in the varieties that are most in demand. This requires “cooperation and flexibility from brewers with regards to crop year and varieties. The 2022 crop will also present an opportunity to make corrections to over-contracted forward positions,” BarthHaas points out.
Pricing in the spot market for each individual variety is likely to be complicated. The Nuremberg-based hop trader announces that prices for new contracts will rise. “What is certain is that forward prices will be higher than in the past. Growers are facing significant cost increases, much higher than general inflation, and will not be able to operate at historic price levels. We also encourage brewers to embrace modern varieties that are better suited to the changing climate and provide more stable yields than the well-known workhorses of the past,” the report ends.