As we know, craft beer is exploding. That growth is expected to continue and those 3,200 breweries in the US are using a ton of hops. Hops are the most popular ingredient in craft beer. IPAs accounted for 25% of craft beer growth in 2014. We love our IBUs. Popular Science, there were 6 million pounds of hops used in 2007. In 2015, there will be 30 million pounds of hops. In 1988 there were 88 varieties of hops. Now there are 132.
Local brewers and farmers are working together to produce more hops
Washington’s Yakima Valley, a hotspot for domestic hop producers, can’t keep up, so single-acre hop operations are popping up on other types of farms across the country. Growers in New York, Minnesota, and Colorado provide local brewers with hops that reflect a distinctive regional terroir. In return, many brewers agree to share up-front costs, guaranteeing a market for the harvest.
We reported on the large influx of hop varieties and what the offer for brewers, a while back. We covered everything from the Lemon Drop, Belma,the Jarrylo and beyond. Companies like Ninkasi and Sierra Nevada have taken full advantage of these hops
Fortunately, in the last five years or so, new hop varieties have exploded on the scene. Now we have access to more than 100 different hops, plus there are many more being researched and developed, and new varieties are continually released to both professional brewers and home brewers.
Craft brewing has, once again, proven to be not just a fad, but a huge engine for the US economy.
The researchers conclude that the craft beer renaissance could boost domestic barley production—total US barley acres peaked at about 11 million in 1990 and have since fallen well below 5 million acres. About a quarter of US barley is used as animal feed; the great bulk of the rest gets malted for beer.