Climate change is a big challenge for hop growers. Most of U.S. hops is grown in Washigton, Oregon and Idaho, states that are increasingly threatened by droughts. Producers are now trying to grow hops in other states, but this is not going to be an easy task.
“We are reaching this kind of tipping point where what we’ve been used to in terms of how much rain we’re going to get and how plants grow is no longer the norm,” says Dr. Joshua Fisher, Climate Scientist at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The problem is not restricted to the United States. Two years ago, Europe experienced one of the worst hop crops in decades and hops supply fell short of demand which drove prices up. This year, we will have a more or less balanced supply and demand but an ongoing increase in usage of hops will make the dependency on the weather even higher in the future. (inside.beer, 5.9.2017)
Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, U.S. President Donald Trump is insisting that Climate Change is not a real threat. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” he said in November 2012.
While many larger breweries conclude long-term contracts with hop growers, which secures supply of the so called “green gold”, many smaller brewers have to buy hops on the spot market. Due to unforeseen climatic conditions sometimes not all desired hop varieties are available and brewers have to use what they can get.