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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Organic Hops Segment Growing, But ...

Post has been updated; see below

This item caught my eye (hat tip, Beerpulse)
But according to The American Organic Hop Grower Association, the total pounds of organic hops produced by their member growers tripled last year, growing from 70,000 pounds in 2011 to 218,000 pounds in 2012. What’s even more impressive? A full 10 percent of the hops grown in the U.S. are now certified organic (around double that of the average crop).
That's astounding.  Too astounding.  I visited the Willamette Valley a couple years ago, and organics were nowhere.   So I did a bit of checking.  In 2012, the US produced 61.2 million pounds of hops.  I'm no math whiz, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation puts 10% of that total at a shade over six million pounds.  At 218 thou, organics make up .36% (a third of one percent) of the market.  Perhaps they meant to say 10% of new hops?  Dunno, but whatever it is, it's not ten percent.

Update. Patrick Smith, of Loftus Ranches, clears up the confusion. (Check the comments for his correction on a raft of other glaring gaffes in the Yahoo piece.)
The Yahoo! report misinterpreted the data point. The correct interpretation is that 10% of US hop farms (by number, not volume) are growing certified organic hops on some portion of their acreage. The correct data point was intended to show that hop growers are responding to the market and getting into, or expanding, organic hop acreage. The average crop in the US has ~5% of its farms growing some organic production. Hops are now double that.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So how are there so many organic breweries? is there some faking on definitions?

Pete Dunlop said...

Th rules have been bent to accomodate the fact that organic hops are in very short supply. However, I believe the rules are changing.

Patrick Smith said...

The Yahoo! report misinterpreted the data point. The correct interpretation is that 10% of US hop farms (by number, not volume) are growing certified organic hops on some portion of their acreage. The correct data point was intended to show that hop growers are responding to the market and getting into, or expanding, organic hop acreage. The average crop in the US has ~5% of its farms growing some organic production. Hops are now double that.

Patrick Smith
Loftus Ranches (@loftusranches)
Yakima, WA

Patrick Smith said...

After reading the entire original story, there are a number of factual errors that should discount the entire thing.

A barrel is 31 gallons, not 32 pounds.

Most craft beer does not rely on Cascade hops. Cascade is #1 in usage, but to say that most craft beer relies on the variety is an exaggeration.

Hops do not grow 10 feet per day. They grow fast, but the author is about an order of magnitude off.

The rapid expansion of organic hop production is a great story to tell. I wish the author had done a better job with her fact-checking.

abram said...

Not all organic hop farmers are members of the AOHGA hence the difference between 218000 lbs grown by members and the total organic hop crop. I don t have figures on total lbs. But total acreage is estimated to be around 300 for organic hops or 1% of total u.s. hops. Also usda loophole allowing non organic hops in beer closed jan 1 2013. All certified organic beer must use organic hops.

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