Severe hop shortage could mean more expensive craft beers

A blighted European hop harvest is likely to hit picky drinkers' pockets

Severe hop shortage could mean more expensive craft beers

Dave Martin / AP

Curious drinkers could soon be facing higher prices to try new brews as independent brewers face a hop shortage.

Dry and hot weather blighted the hop harvest across Europe last year and means that less hops are available as craft beers, and particularly hop-heavy pale ales, become increasingly popular. This is likely to lead to an increase in prices, and a squeeze on profit margins for craft beer makers.

The Guardian reports that it has been told by industry sources that some hop varieties have experienced fivefold price increases - while others are no longer available.

Many brewers will have contracts with suppliers which protect them against sudden price surges if stocks last.

Demand has also been stretched by global beer giants buying craft beer brands and increasing their output.

Bill Manley, the small batch product manager with Sierra Nevada, a brand that has become synonymous with the growth of both craft beer and hoppy ales, says that small and new firms will be hit hardest:

"It’s tough for brewers, especially brewers who don’t have hop contracts or who were a little late to the contracting game."

He adds that you, "have to go around and knock on doors like a neighbour trying to borrow a cup of sugar" contacting other companies when supplies are stretched.