When it comes to hop farming, the Pacific Northwest is king. Washington State leads the pack but Idaho eclipsed Oregon in 2017.
National Brewers Association economist Bart Watson says the Gem State’s expansion is a sign of the strength of the state’s craft beer industry.
“Idaho continues to be a growing hop growing region," Watson says, "and in fact has seen pretty tremendous increases in its hop acreage and production in recent years. So that’s another sign that the industry is benefiting the state more broadly.”
But according to the Yakima-based Hop Growers of America, we’ve reached peak hop production. Since 2012 the number of hops grown in the country has increased by 77 percent. The association reports that 104 million pounds of hops were produced last year, much of which sat on shelves because of the surplus.
The group’s annual report suggests that growers should not add more acreage in 2018.
One more reason for Idaho farmers to proceed with caution in 2018? Consumer demand for a popular way to use hops is increasingly expensive to produce.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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