James Altweis posted a great read over at the Gorst Valley Hops blog. You should read it.
Okay...so the sea ice is melting and the glaciers are thinning out. The sea is becoming less salty and ocean currents are fluctuating. We knew this would happen based on the hotly debated data sets over the last 10-15 years.The gist of James' article is a very salient one. Hops are not exactly the most resilient and tolerant plant out there. Indeed, while hops do grow wild as a weed in some places, growing them on a commercial scale is not easy.
What we didn't anticipate is the RATE at which this would happen. In the last 2 years the globe has experienced the beginning of nearly every predicted change outlined in these data...except that it was to happen over the next 50-100 years.
If you'll recall, a few years ago (2007-ish) there was a hop shortage and prices for hops were all over the place. Most of the blame, at the time, was put on craft brewers and the sudden surge of hoppy beers. This impacted in bottom line and made the price of beer go up [ed note: I noticed that when hop prices decreased, the cost savings weren't exactly passed on to the consumer].
As I understand James, you can expect the prices for hops to be all over the place in the next few years. Indeed, if I think I understand James correctly you can expect the prices for hops to be all over the place for the next ... well, forever.
Translating that for you, Mr. and/or Ms. Beer Drinker, you should expect to see beer prices continue to increase.
Yes. That's right. I'm a genius. I predicted that prices for beer will increase.
But, more particularly, the availability of some hops that simply aren't as drought resistant will be extremely limited. So, which hops are more drought resistant? Well, we can start with the proprietary,
So, if we keep going down this rabbit hole: the hops most likely to withstand drought are those that are most expensive and most difficult to distribute. Those IIPAs are about to get much more expensive.