hist-brewing: Bad news for homebrewers

Bill Velek billvelek at alltel.net
Mon Oct 8 12:29:32 PDT 2007


For whatever reason (head in the sand??), I wasn't aware of the bleak 
news for hop and malt prices until I spoke with my LHBS last week and 
then read the following in a news report today : "Firms that turn barley 
into brewing malt informed craft brewers of price increases ranging from 
40% to 80%, and hops suppliers announced increases ranging from 20% to 
100%, depending on the variety of hops." -- an exerpt taken from 
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB119153971071549546.html

Yikes!!!  I don't know if my wife will let me keep homebrewing.  ;-)

Anyway, one thing that those of us with enough yard and a green-thumb 
can do to help cut costs is to grow our own hops.  I did it for the 
first time this year -- in Arkansas (southern U.S. where hops aren't 
supposed to grow as well as in northern climates) -- and it was easy and 
I did pretty well, harvesting 42 dry ounces for a first year crop; I've 
read that I can reasonably expect my second year harvest to be double, 
or more.  I'm now planning to increase my number of hop plants, too, and 
for anyone who is interested, now is a good time to start -- probably 
not TOO late to plant in the southern hemisphere, and definitely a good 
time to prepare the bed for spring planting in the northern hemisphere 
by breaking the ground and incorporating compost, manure, and any needed 
ingredients like lime that takes a little time to sweeten the soil.  Of 
course, I didn't try growing them just to save money, although that's a 
nice bonus that looks like I'll appreciate even more as prices rise; I 
did it because I wanted a source of fresh hops so that I could try 'wet' 
hopping, and also because I like gardening.  If anyone is interested, 
please visit my Grow-Hops discussion group which currently has 347 
members: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grow-Hops

Cheers.

Bill Velek



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