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Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Run on Hops?

Lew Bryson is reporting an unnamed brewer who was quoted $32 a pound for Cascades. This compares to $2 a year ago (probably low, reflecting surpluses carried over from a glut in the early '00s) and $10 a pound in September. I would guess a balance between supply and demand would put them somewhere in the $3-$5 range, so this price is something like 800% above what brewers expect to pay.

That's obviously very bad. But I wonder, with the extraordinary attention the hop situation is getting (even NPR did a story a couple days ago), could this be the result of a run on the market? I know homebrewers (some of whom might even write for this blog) who have bought bulk to lay in a store for the hard times ahead. Surely ours was not an isolated inspiration.

I wonder if this means there are deals on other, less popular hops still to be had. If so, we might see a series of new beers with new hop profiles--not an altogether terrible outcome. I also wonder if it means that we'll see haves and have-not breweries as the year wears on, as those who jumped first and picked up the (relatively) cheap Cascades have a larder, while others look at $32 a pound and say, "gee, how about a nice Scottish ale?"

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