Hops Shortage Hits Brewers; Yakima Economy to Boom - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hops Shortage Hits Brewers; Yakima Economy to Boom

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YAKIMA, Wash - Local growers say there is a shortage of hops in the country and around the world.  The Yakima Valley produces 70% of the crop for the nation.

Hops are an important ingredient for most beers.  Some breweries use it more than others.  What looks like a hops crisis around the world could mean a booming economy in Yakima.

All the hops available at the Hops Union Warehouse in Yakima have already been sold to breweries and it wasn't cheap.

"Prices have quadrupled, maybe even more for some varieties," says Ralph Olson, Hops Union General Manager.

In the last year there has been less of the crop available, making it more expensive.  In the 90's a lot of hops growers got out of the business because the crop was being over-produced.  The growers were unable to make profits.  Now with more and more breweries sprouting up, the ingredient is back in high demand.

"This will be a big shot in the arm to Yakima because you'll have a lot more tractors being sold, trucks and other equipments and a lot more expansion," explains Olson.

The big cooperations won't be changing much.  It's the smaller breweries who will adjust.

"The craft brewer has been effected and part of that reason is they use so much more of the ingredient in the beer," says Olson.

Steven Anderson is a home brewer; right now he still has enough hops to keep business going.

"It's possible next year we might be brewing less IPA's and more stouts and things that don't take as many hops to brew," explains Anderson.

Hop prices are expected to go down in the next couple of years, as growers will be adding more acreage of the crop to their farms.