The 2016 hop harvest in the USA has hit a five-year high with 87.1 million pounds collected.

The increase of 8.3 million pounds was equivalent to an 11% rise in production. However, earlier this year the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) had estimated a 16% increase calculating a 3 pound drop in pounds per acre on production despite an estimate of the new acreage being approximately 70% lower yielding popular aromas. Ultimately, 2016 saw a 94 pound drop in production on pounds per acre.

“While some varieties – most notably bittering hop CTZ – didn’t fare as well due to mildew and climatic pressure, brewers are putting in orders for hops that have exciting aromas, but simply do not yield as much per acre,” said Blake Crosby, Vice President of Hop Growers of America and President of Crosby Hop Farm, LLC. “As an industry we are happy to plant these, but more acres are required to deliver the same amount, pound for pound.”

“As the changing landscape of the hop and brewing industries adjust together, both are working simultaneously to ensure they are communicating effectively through contracts,” said Ann George, Executive Director of Hop Growers of America. “Our growers are working hard to meet what can feel like an insatiable demand.”

“Time will tell when we get later in the year if enough was contracted and planted,” said Crosby. “The line between under and oversupply is a fine one, and it’s not good for anyone – growers and brewers – if it is crossed. People can tend to forget this is an agricultural product that only comes once a year, and a specialty one at that, which requires much planning and preparation. Overall, as an industry we feel good about 2016, but we’ve already moved on and are working on 2017.”