BarthHaas report positive despite global risks

The 2021-2022 growing year has seen another worldwide increase in hop cultivation, production and alpha production however COVID-19 still presents risks for the industry that are “exacerbated” by the conflict in Ukraine according to BarthHaas’ latest report.

World hop acreage rose in 2021 by 0.8 per cent to 62,886 hectares according to the report, while the harvest yield surpassed 2020’s result by seven per cent to 130,800 metric tons.

Elsewhere, alpha production volume increased to 14,173 metric tons, recording a record high of 10.8 per cent in average alpha acid content for all varieties harvested.

World beer production also increased in 2021 by a margin of 4 per cent to 1.86 billion hL, but failed to return to pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 (1.91 billion hL).

In Australia, Hop Products Australia reported it had picked 810 hectares across its three farms during this year’s harvest, producing 1,656 metric tons of hops.

Listen to the special edition of BreweryPro where Brews News editor Matt Kirkegaard spoke with HPA sales and marketing manager, Owen Johnston about the 2022 HPA crop report and what the numbers mean for brewers.

Despite these global increases, the lingering effects of COVID-19 are still creating issues for the industry while the conflict in Ukraine imposed by Russia could present “new, additional challenges”, according to report author Heinrich Meier.

“In Russia and Ukraine together, around 100 million hL of beer is brewed and more than two million hL imported,” he said.

“This is equivalent to 5 per cent of the volume of beer produced worldwide.

“The potential war-related decline in production is of a magnitude similar to that caused by the pandemic.”

Meier also suggested that the war has continued the ripple effect of the pandemic with production delays, supply shortages and cost increases.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain payment and transportation channels. World trade is already suffering due to pandemic-related supply shortfalls,” he said.

“Containers are not in the right place at the right time. Consequently, goods are in short supply and prices are rising.

“This situation is being exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.”

These consequences are already affecting the hop industry, according to Meier.

“The immediate consequence is reduced availability of operating supplies such as fertilizer or training wire for hop farming and packaging material for hop processing.

“The enormous increase in energy prices is placing an additional strain on hop production and processing.

“The hop industry worldwide is struggling with an unprecedented increase in production costs at all stages of the value chain.”

Meier suggested that hop acreage needs to adjust to keep up with these inevitable challenges.

“Increases in production cost and overproduction are a dangerous combination, presenting the hop industry with huge challenges,” he said.

“The global hop industry can only counter excess production by adjusting acreage. This is essential if the market is to return to equilibrium.”

The BarthHaas annual report provides a comprehensive outlook on key factors in the industry, while also providing an analysis on current social and political impacts.

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