Bad Weather In Europe Leads To Horrifying Shortage Of Good Beer

Oh no! NPR is reporting that bad weather in Europe has lead to decreased production of hops, a crucial ingredient of beer. The shortage is causing the price of fancy microbrewery beers to rise.

Miller and Budweiser aren’t affected because they have futures contracts and use less hops. How much will the price of microbrew beer rise? No one is sure yet, but the brewer that NPR interviewed was very worried. He equated the skyrocketing price of gasoline to beer, and is worried that the hops shortage will price him out of the market.

“Some people are going to sell the truck and buy the Honda,” he said.

Hops Shortage Likely to Boost Price of Beer [NPR]


Edit Your Comment

  1. savvy999 says:

    Hopps? Meg, please :)

  2. kellsbells says:

    Easy: Use Cascade or Willamette hopps. They are a domestic alternative that are touted as being the very next closing thing to euro hopps. And they make delicious homebrews yummmmmmmmmm.

  3. kellsbells says:

    HOPS. hops. tail between legs.

  4. Dennis says:

    Sounds like time to start drinking more wine. MMMmmm wine.

  5. johnva says:

    @kellsbells: Unfortunately I’ve heard that there are shortages of the American hops varieties as well this year (due to poor crop yields).

  6. Meg Marco says:

    unspellcheckeriffic version posted. fixed.

  7. Flossie says:

    Anywhere pot grows well, so too will hops. Sounds like an investment opportunity. A delicious staggering investment opportunity!

  8. wezelboy says:

    @Flossie: So you are saying I should grow hops in a tray in my basement? ;-)

  9. rhombopteryx says:

    My opinion – less hops (and the US hops production is only “average“) means that maybe people will stop contaminating beer with excessive amounts of hops – a glorified 2nd cousin of pine sap. A little bit of hops helps with the brewing, but for much of history, the only reason to add lots of hops was because you didn’t or wouldn’t have fresh beer. Hops – because we hadn’t invented synthetic preservatives yet…

  10. STrRedWolf says:

    Worse still. There were reports a few weeks ago saying that Australian barley, another key ingredient in beer, had it’s production cut in half due to a drought. I also thought I heard that their hops production was also equally killed, putting a demand on American hops.

  11. Mr. Gunn says:

    So if you’re already drinking bud light, you’ll switch to….PBR? High Life? Na(s)tty Light? Schlitz!?

    /Oh the humanity…

  12. Canadian Impostor says:

    @rhombopteryx: So your argument is that we should get rid of hops and use artificial preservatives?

    There are plenty of delicious hoppy beers, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA for example.

  13. Fantastic, I haven’t been able to drink a beer since April and now, next month when I will be able to, I won’t be able to afford it.

    Also, Hop Devil is deelish.

  14. Beerad says:

    @rhombopteryx: You might well say the same thing about salt, but I don’t see too many arguments for getting salt out of the kitchen because modern preservation techniques have made it unnecessary. Hops are also an important flavoring ingredient, and the popular existence of brews like India pale ale suggest that plenty of tipplers like their hop-infused brews just fine, thank you very much!

  15. eury says:

    @kellsbells: Right on the mark. I cannot imagine the Pacific Northwest hops have been affected (or effected?) by any strange weather.

  16. hoosier45678 says:

    @rhombopteryx: This isn’t milk. Unless I go to a brewpub, I don’t have fresh beer, and even then it’ll be nearly a month old. Other than Fat Tire, which is suddenly showing up all over the place here in Iowa (I even spotted it at a minor league hockey game), I doubt there’s any beer in my house less than 6 months old.

    Also, I accidentally brewed beer once without the bittering hops stage (I remembered to aroma hop it at the end). Totally dull. The comparison to salt above is appropriate. Beer NEEDS hops.

  17. shertzerj says:

    @Canadian Impostor:
    I just visited the Victory brewery outside Philly this past weekend and enjoyed some nice Hop Devil and Storm King brews. Super alcoholic, full of hops, and delicious! :)

  18. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    @rhombopteryx: I’m not a big fan of super-hoppy beers myself, but my local brewpub would probably go out of business without IPA-style beers–it’s their best seller. It’s microbreweries that are being hit the hardest by this shortage, since the big brewers (which don’t use a lot of hops anyway) have locked in hops futures for themselves.

    According to NPR, another cause is a recent crash in the hops market, which led a lot of farmers to stop growing them; the best thing that can be said about the current shortage is that the remaining growers are getting some big bucks for their crops.

  19. jharrell says:

    Just saw the first shipments come in at the place I buy from. Hops are looking scarce but the local place hasn’t raised prices, just limited the purchasing quantities and favors regular customers over new walk-ins.

  20. MCShortbus says:

    Oh noes!

    I love the Dogfish Head IPA series! I hope this doesn’t make that more expensive…

    Personally I like Pabst too. Not only is it less expensive than other main stream beers, I think it tastes better. Bud etc. just tastes like carbonated sugar water now enhanced with skunked beer after-taste!

  21. edwardso says:

    I wish fat tire would make it to the East Coast

  22. asscore says:

    As someone who buys a 24 pack of Bitburger every day this is extremely worrying. I can hardly afford $16/day.

    KELLSBELLS – Cascade and Willamette hops are no replacement for the one true hop SAAZ!
    Saaz is the primary hop for almost all European pils.
    The others have their place – just not in a fine pilsner.

    RHOMBOPTERYX – wow you are an idiot. you don’t like hops, go drink a pbr/miller or any of the other crap american beers.

  23. rhombopteryx says:


    WOW. Or maybe I know how to read – or express an opinion.
    As Hoosier45678 and Beerad seem capable of discerning, preference for hops or not is an opinion, perhaps even an informed one.
    My point was not (don’t worry Canadian Impostor) that we should go to artifical preservatives but that hops was until a few hundred years ago a preservative, not part of the beer itself. It was used because it was marginally better than other preservatives, like soot or poison mushrooms. Obviously, many people went on to like the taste of this preservative in their beer, but some people might have a preference for “pure” “unpreserved” ale with minimal or no hops.
    In fact, most contemporary low- or no-hop ales are “traditional” ales from the UK or Germany or Belgium, like brown ales or altbiers or doppelbocks or marzens or hefewiezens or strong ales – you know, “crap american beers.” As an actual read of the article would reveal, “crap american beers” do use hops, large industrial brewers just bought their hops on contract and so are less subject to the price swings.