Looks like New Zealand hops, which include several particularly popular varieties, won’t be any easier to get this year. The industry’s 2013 crop report (remember it is fall there and hops have already been harvested) indicates production fell about 30 metric tons, or 4%, below expectations. The two most widely grown varieties, Wakatu and Nelson Sauvin, were “the most highly impacted by the unseasonal conditions.”
“The result was a little disappointing, especially in what is a buoyant market but the reality is things could have been much worse when you consider just how persistently dry the summer was,” said Doug Donelan, CEO of New Zealand Hops.
Farmers harvested about 600,000 pounds of Wakatu, 216,000 pounds of Nelson Sauvin, and 119,000 of Motueka, another emerging variety. Production of other high demand/low volume varieties such as Riwaka (13,000 pounds, most of which will stay in New Zealand) was considerably less.
For purposes of comparison, American farmers harvested more than 5 million pounds of Cascade hops in 2012, more than a million of Cluster, and even 722,000 of Citra, a variety farmers are expanding acreage of as fast as they can.
[The full report, courtesy of Charles Faram & Co.]