The Charles Faram Hop Walk has been a fixture in my calendar for many years. It marks the end of summer and, for me, the start of getting ready for Brau Beviale or drinktec. With no Brau or drinktec this year and after 18 months of pandemic, everybody was keen to hear how the hop harvest was going and, in particular, how hop growers and merchants are surviving the drastic downturn in brewers’ requirements.
Ali Capper, Director of the British Hop Association reported that other countries had held their contracts so had an oversupply. However, the british hop growers and merchants had responded to customer requests to reduce production during 2020 and 2021, reducing the 2020 UK hop harvest to 40% of its usual volume and 2021 production by up to 50%. The cost to reduce production over the 2 years has cost the 59 small, family UK growers £7million, losing a year’s worth of turnover in the past 2 years.
With the removal of lockdown and the future to look ahead, UK hop growers now need to replant and return to full production efficiencies. Hops are a capital and time intensive crop and, to ensure supply, they need 3-5 year contracts. Hop farmers are responding to the calls for new varieties, better disease resistance. The new aroma varieties such as Olicana, F014, F081, J37 are comparable to overseas hops. The reduction in carbon footprint and water use by sourcing hops from the UK is significant (no other hops are naturally irrigated).
The strong and very important message coming from the UK hop industry is that great beer deserves British hops so please do listen and act on the message now!
About Charles Faram
Charles Faram are suppliers and a one-stop-shop to the brewing industry. They grow hops to help brewers to brew great beers. Learn more by clicking here on our Members Directory.
Want to keep up-to-date with key local, national and world events in the Brewers, Food & Beverage industry?
Keep an eye out on our Events Calendar here.