In crop year 2020, total hop acreage worldwide has risen to about 62,700 ha, which represents a year-on-year increase of approx. 1,100 ha, or 2 %., according the new BarthHaas Hops Report which was released today. Conditions during the growing season have been good, with the result that from today’s perspective (last updated in late August) a good average crop volume of about 130,000 mt can be expected.
The 2019 hop crop was already the largest since 1993 and the amount of alpha acid was even the highest in history. Together with the reduced consumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, breweries can expect a comfortable supply situation after this year’s crop.
“The craft sector, which is so important for the hop industry, is suffering in particular disproportionately high, as a large number of craft breweries are dependent on local bars,” says Heinrich Meier, editor of the BarthHaas Hops Report. If beer consumption falls by 14% this year, the industry will need about 400 to 2,000 tons less of alpha acid.
From today's perspective, beer output will reach the level of 2019 at the earliest in 2022, if not later. This will cause a major disruption in the supply chain of hops. “When supply and demand cannot be brought back into balance within a trustful cooperation of everyone involved, the hop industry is threatened by rapid erosion. Nobody can be interested in such a thing,” adds Meier.
In the United States - Pacific Northwest (PNW) there were initial concerns within the hop industry regarding the potential effects of the pandemic on hop demand. Various measures were discussed with a view to limiting hop acreage. On the basis of the USDA figures, however, it would appear that the acreage for the contracted volume of the 2020 crop was strung almost entirely, with only minor adjustments. The decisive factor in the expansion of US hop acreage is the aroma category, with an acreage increase of 1,336 ha (8 %) which in turn mainly features proprietary varieties. After three years of expansion, bitter variety acreage has been cut back by 272 ha (5 %) for 2020. On the basis of the planted area, it is estimated that the total production volume in the PNW will be between 53,000 and 54,000 mt.
Citra® is the variety with the strongest growth, having leapt by 1.016 ha (29 %) to 4.533 ha. Its share of total acreage in the PNW is now 19 %. Mosaic® has continued its growth trajectory with an increase of 587 ha (35 %), followed by Idaho 7™ with 366 ha. Other proprietary varieties have seen increases ranging from 200 to 350 ha. Simcoe® acreage has remained unchanged, while Amarillo® acreage has declined slightly. Of the generally available varieties originating from public breeding programmes, Cashmere was the only one to show a notable increase, amounting to 124 ha. Cascade acreage has declined for the fourth year in succession. This further contraction of 594 ha (27 %) has left its total acreage at 1,618 ha. Centennial and Chinook have also undergone further contraction in acreage amounting to 343 ha (22 %) and 170 ha (18 %), respectively. After three years of expansion, bitter variety acreage has been cut back by 272 ha (5 %) for 2020. CTZ, Summit™ and Nugget acreage has declined by between 100 and 175 ha.
In Germany there has been a year-on-year increase in hop acreage of 289 ha (1 %) in 2020, bringing the total to 20,706 ha. As in the previous year, this change is attributable to acreage expansion among the three most important hop varieties Herkules, Perle and Hallertau Tradition grown in Germany. In August, the official crop estimate commission forecast a possible hop crop volume of 48,800 mt, with the Hallertau region accounting for 41,500 mt of that (inside.beer, 10.9.2020).
The bitter variety Herkules has seen the largest growth in planted area, with an increase of 162 ha (2 %) bringing it to 6,717 ha. With 32 % of acreage, it remains by far the most widely grown hop variety. The area planted with the aroma variety Perle has grown by 149 ha (5 %) to stand at 3,297 ha, which brings its share of total acreage to 16 %. The area planted with the aroma variety Hallertau Tradition has grown by 100 ha (4 %) to 2,870 ha. Its share of total acreage is now 14 %. All the aroma varieties together cover an area of 11,335 ha (+113 ha), equivalent to 55 % of total hop acreage. The area planted with bitter varieties amounts to 9,371 ha (+176 ha), which represents a share of 45 %.