News from the American Hops Convention

The John I. Haas team along with other members of the Barth-Haas Group recently returned from the annual American Hop Convention that was held this year in Monterey, California. If you’ve never been to AHC, it is a well-regarded conference that combines the Hop Research Council (HRC) annual meeting and the Hop Growers of America Convention.

The HRC serves to better the hop industry through the funding of research grants. Disease control, agronomy, breeding, entomology, and hop chemistry were some of the research areas discussed. Particularly noteworthy were the updates on the USDA hop breeding program, efforts to provide virus-free rootstock to growers, and the impact of kilning temperatures on hop quality.

The American Hop Convention featured seminars, panels, and posters on a number of different topics.  Two, in particular, touched on the state of beer and hop industries.

Lester Jones from the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) provided insights on how economics and demographics are impacting beer. Some interesting factoids that came out of the talk were:

  • The inflow of new legal age consumers is shrinking in the future.
  • Total U.S. per capita of all alcohol consumption remains relatively constant. Diving deeper into this statistic, however, the beer share of ethanol is decreasing, wine is constant, and spirits are rising.
  • Beer prices have risen disproportionately to other alcoholic beverages over the past 10 years.

Our own Alex Barth was part of a Merchant Panel that discussed the state of the hop industry. Great discussions were heard on worldwide hop acreage trends, how the changing beer landscape is affecting hops, and the alpha versus aroma hop balance.

Of course, part of the hard work that the HRC members put in was tasting beers brewed by Professor Tom Shellhammer’s group at Oregon State University. These were single-hopped lagers and ales that highlighted public experimental hop varieties.

Conferences like this are always a good chance to catch up with friends in the industry and the American Hop Convention was no exception.



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John I. Haas, Inc.
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