The turmoil in beer’s supply chain over the past year and a half has created numerous challenges for breweries of every size. Luckily, shortages in supply have not extended to beer’s two main raw material components: malt and hops. While there have certainly been disruptions to the shipping and transportation of some raw materials, the actual agricultural commodities themselves have been one area of relatively little disruption.
Unfortunately, that may be changing on the malt side, as 2021 brought a smaller barley crop with potential heat and drought damage in both the U.S. and Canada (we’ll get a better sense on September 30 with the USDA Small Grains Summary). You can read more about the crop in the Supply Chain Subcommittee September update.
On the hops side – the June acreage and September stocks reports continue to paint a more positive picture when it comes to hop supply. If anything, the growth in September stocks, reaching their highest recorded level, shows an industry that has built a large reserve against future disruption, with September stocks at 116% of the previous year’s total crop size. In essence, there is a full year of backup hops in storage should something disrupt a future crop (whether the varieties being stored all line up with use is another story, but I digress).
One reason the hop industry has been willing to invest in larger crops and increased storage capacity is clear brewer communication about hop needs and future use. To that end, I invite you to fill out our new, updated raw materials survey. This survey has been streamlined (read: it’s much shorter than before), with the goal of providing clear benchmarks on hop and malt use to growers and dealers as they outline their 2022 plans.
Deadline: October 29
If you have a few minutes in the next month (deadline: October 29) – please fill it out. Having accurate benchmarks on craft raw material demand allows the Brewers Association to clearly communicate the importance of small brewer needs to groups like the Hop Growers of America, Hop Research Council, National Barley Growers Association, the American Malting Barley Association, and Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute in Canada.