Last year's poor hop harvest is confirmed by the marketing figures now published in the EU Hop Harvest Report 2022 for Germany. The blame for the misery lay with the hot and dry summer of 2022 as a result of the much-vaunted climate change.
In recent weeks, the Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture (LfL) has recorded the marketing figures for hops, broken down into bitter and aroma hops as well as contractually bound and freely marketable hops, with the respective average prices, and prepared them for Germany's annual report to the EU Commission.
According to this, hops were produced in Germany by 1,053 hop farms on a total area of 20,604 ha. Expressed in tons of alpha acid, the most important hop ingredient for brewers, this was 3,720 t or 40 % less than in the very good 2021 crop. The volume of hops marketed via advance contracts amounted to 32,568 t at an average price of EUR 6.09/kg, which represents a drop of 16 % in volume and 7 % in price compared to the previous year 2021. The decline in volume is due to underdeliveries as a result of the poor harvest and the decline in price is a deduction for the low alpha acid content.
The decline in volume was even more pronounced for free hops. Only 20 % of the 2021 volume or 1,796 t of hops were sold as "free hops". At an average of EUR 9.93/kg, the price was 57 % higher than in 2021, but this is less significant because of the low marketing volume.
Overall, the net revenue of the hop farmers was EUR 216 m, EUR 96 m less than in the very good hop year 2021. If the higher procurement prices for inputs due to the supply chain problems as a result of the Ukraine war are included, the shortfall in revenue adds up to around EUR 120 m.
Despite the poor harvest, a shortage of hops as a beer raw material is not to be expected due to the good supply situation. Nor is the poor hop crop responsible for the beer price increases, since only about 1 g of hops are needed for one liter of beer.