Cheap hops won’t lower beer prices

Northwest hops are plentiful and hops prices are low, but craft beer prices will remain high.

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While 2007 was the year of the hops shortage, this year has brought a hops glut in the Northwest – but beer prices aren’t expected to go down.

“The only time I’ve heard of hops left hanging was back when powdery mildew hit so hard that some yards weren’t worth picking,” says John Annen of Annen Brothers Farms and chairman of the Oregon Hop Commission. “But never industrywide — these are perfectly good hops unpicked because there’s no warehouse space and no spot market for uncontracted hops.”

Two years ago, failed European crops, declining acreage worldwide, a Yakima warehouse fire and other factors conspired to send spot prices for beer’s most distinctive ingredient soaring from $2 and $3 a pound to more than $30 in some cases.

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