World: Europe hop acreage down, US continues expansion this year
Somewhat surprisingly the hop acreage in Europe declined by 93 ha (232 acres) or -0.3%, the Barth Haas Group reported on June 30.
Germany scaled back 86 ha (215 acres) and the UK went down by 100 ha (250 acres). Slovenia (+55 ha/137 acres) and the Czech Republic (+22 ha/55 acres), on the other hand, increased their acreage, the company said.
The US continues its expansion one more year and adds another 791 ha (1,977 acres / +3.2%). Hop growing outside the core region of the Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, ID) is paired back by 56 ha (-5.6% / 140 acres), however, and drops below the threshold of 1,000 ha (2,500 acres).
Increases are also recorded in the Southern hemisphere in New Zealand (+2.6%) and Australia
(+3.6%) while the changes in the other growing regions are insignificant.
In total worldwide hop acreage increases by 772 ha / 1,930 acres or 1.2% this year, it is reported.
The pandemic has hit the beer market to varying degrees, depending on the geographic region and consumption habits. In total beer production shrank by about 5% in 2020 as compared to 2019. In light of this decline 2020 hop spot prices proved surprisingly robust. Good alpha acid contents in most varieties provided for available spot volumes, which have been continuously marketed since September. After several years of tight markets, the 2020 season was more relaxed and supplies for spot demand were readily available.
Provided crop 2021 yields normally, the comfortable supply situation should continue into the new
season. Only for 2023 do the Barth Haas Group experts expect beer production to return to pre-pandemic levels. Hop demand, however, should normalize earlier as the return to on-premise consumption, especially in North America, will boost hop-centric beer styles.
As in previous years, the majority of the new crop is already contracted for (>90%). The company expects that the industry will once more face a disequilibrium between what is contracted and what is truly needed. Marketers will be called on again to balance the market by directing available volumes to where they are needed. This balancing exercise will range from fairly easy to rather very complicated, depending on the variety under consideration. Not only will quantities play a role, but possible price differentials will need to be taken into account also.