Hops are expensive. Poor yields worldwide and the incentive for farmers to plant corn (for ethanol) over hops and barley have lead to what many microbrewers are calling a “hop crisis.” This shortage has pushed hop prices up as much as 400%. Barley has gone up for similar reasons (yep, corn again). Toss in the current economy and beer isn’t the vice of the poor anymore.
To help combat this, I’ve taken to growing my own hops. As Idaho is the third largest grower of hops in the U.S. and the Northwest being responsible for over 90% of the nation’s production, it’s surprising to me that there aren’t more local growers out there.
I currently have 3 plants growing up my back porch. It costs less to buy a plant than it does to purchase 2 oz of hops at my local supplier. This will cut the cost of my brewing by $8 – $24 per 5 gallon batch.
Any surplus I have will be going up here, so keep on eye out around August if your looking for some cheap local hops. Or better yet, grow your own and we can trade!