Hop acreage increases by 1.673 ha (+2.8%) to 60.412 ha worldwide
Favourable growing conditions so far; plant growth in Europe 10-20 days ahead of long-term average; balanced supply and demand expected for 2019
I. Changes of acreage by country:
Almost all growing countries have added acreage in 2018 albeit at a much slower pace than in previous years. Total hop acreage now exceeds the 60.000 ha mark again for the first time in over 20 years.
Source: deutscher Hopfenpflanzerverband
Herkules continues to lead the expansion in Germany adding another 512 ha and Polaris the only other bitter variety gaining ground. The decline in Magnum has slowed down. On the aroma side we see careful expansion in some of the traditional aroma varieties (Perle, Select, Saphir) and a needed correction of acreage in the German flavour varieties (Mandarina Bav., Melon).
Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, ID) only:
Source: Hop Growers of America/USDA and own data
The US PNW (Pacific Nowthwest) now surpasses 55,000 acres of hop land, 55,339 to be precise (22,136 ha), which is an increase of 3.9% over 2017. Most of the expansion took place in Idaho, which now has slightly more acres under hops than Oregon. Acreage in the states outside of the PNW is declining (-203 ha) as the hop market becomes more competitive.
Citra® has become the number one variety in the US having added another 1,532 acres (+30%). Cascade on the other hand drops 936 acres (-13%) and into #3 position behind CTZ. A big increase for CTZ (+487ha/1,218 acres) and HBC 682 (+291 ha/728 acres or 73%) is putting the US strongly back into the high alpha rink.
IV. Plant growth and development:
Growing conditions in Germany were characterized by a very warm spring with above average temperatures all the way from April through June (see chart) causing plants to grow very rapidly.Across most varieties growth is 10-14 days ahead of the long-term average. With the exception of the very early maturing varieties (Hall. Mittelfrüh and Northern Brewer) which went into early bloom, this does not seem to have affected the plants negatively. Precipitation has varied strongly from area to area but has been sufficient on average.
Precipitation and Temperature for Hüll, Wolnzach
The overall crop development appears to be approximately one week ahead of average. The relatively mild spring, low pest pressure, and ample water has provided ideal growing conditions. Most plants have not experienced any conditions that would cause stress, although there are a few varieties, such as Centennial, which began to bloom early in their development. The early bloom could have an impact on yield come harvest.Water supply is abundant this year and sufficient to irrigate the crop.
V. Market outlook:
Hop acreage is reacting to market conditions with high alpha hops coming back into the ground and excess flavour hops being being either grubbed or converted into high alpha or aroma/flavour varieties in high demand. Provided the main growing regions produce an average crop we foresee a fairly balanced supply and demand situation on the hop market for the 2019 brewing year.
Hop demand is expected to increase further despite a stagnant beer market as flavourful and well-hopped beers continue to expand and displace lighter versions.
The forward contract ratios on both sides of the Atlantic remain at a very high level: crops 2018-20 are almost fully contracted so that spot opportunities should be few and far between. Most trading has focused on crop years 2021-25 during the first half of the year.