The hop industry is changing and rapidly, we now have the onset of a stable market in the craft beer industry in America, that means that the growth and spike is starting to settle down, the hops that have been planted 2-3 years ago to allow this upword trend to continue are starting to become available and we have an excess of some varieties.
American hops still tend to be the most popular and most sought after, plus we have some desperate need for the super sought after australian hops too
We have contracts for hops that we agreed at a higher rate than we can now buy on the hop spot market but we have to honour them, hop merchants don’t want to drop the price at the same time as all it will take is a poor harvest this year to throw the whole industry on its head, some say this would be welcome to teach brewers a lesson who don’t honour contracts.
We had a traumatic hop harvest in Germany last year for example which has seen some difficulties in sourcing quality German hops this year for some brewers, we have been able to step in and resolve these supply issues as we had contracts in place with the German hop farmers. There is a value on hop contracts when things go wrong you see!
The hop politics that goes on in this industry is unreal, you guys have no idea the complexities we face when sourcing hops, the tactics employed by our competitors and the large hop merchants.
Thankfully we deal direct with many hop farmers who have left their buying co operatives as they want to achieve a higher price for their product, we pay that higher price, it’s a fair price, we do still have to contract with them but because we have built a relationship we do so that it is mutually beneficial for both of us
What we find is we need a premium quality product and we then need to transport it and store it correctly, there is a cost involved with handling these hops correctly, keeping a product at 4 degrees especially during a heatwave isn’t cheap.
We won’t stock and sell a variety of hops unless it is the best we can possibly source, we then care for the hops correctly, any hops that we repack are done so in our cold store distribution warehouse, we use quality foil packages and vac seal and nitrogen flush, again this is a cost.
We are brewers ourselves and we understand what a premium hop product is, have confidence we are supplying the best hops
We try to use our buying power to drive down the hop prices in the UK & Irish hop market, in recent years we have revolutionised the price and range of hops available, not only for the homebrew market but for the pro brewers, we have sourced a wide variety of the finest hops and maintained stock levels.
We don’t let our brewers down, we ensure they have the hops they need