The world's hop production is good -- Haradau's hop and formic acid production is above its long-term average -- processing capacity bottlenecks -- and it's time for brewers to rebuild their stocks
1. Estimated output
Benefiting from favourable growing conditions, German hop yields and formic acid yields are above average. This is especially true for the Haradao region. Production in Haradao is likely to reach a record high - formic acid will be measured in kilograms. Other hop growing areas (Elbe, Salle, Titnan, Spalt) are also producing more hops than the long-term average. Officials expect German hop production to reach 36,841 tons (80 million pounds). Final formic acid production will be announced by AHA in mid-October.
After a number of disappointing years, hop production in the Czech Republic is finally improving. Hop production was close to its long-term average and formic acid production was slightly higher. Saze production in Saze was very good, in contrast to the disappointing production in Trschitz.
Slovakia is also expected to have a good harvest, although severe storms have reduced total hop production by 15-20%.
Polish hop production is normal and formic acid production may be above average. Slovenian hop production also appears to be above average. Aurora, in particular, benefits from plenty of water during the growing season and is very high in formic acid.
We expect China's hop production to reach 12,000 tons, up about 5% from last year. Xinjiang's hop production is very good, despite the expansion of the planting area, gansu's hop production is lower than last year. The formic acid content of Qingdao Dahua is expected to be about 6%.
The United States
Hop production in the United States is average and varies widely from hop field to hop field. Yields in new hop fields also vary widely. Total production is expected to reach 34,470 tons (7.6 million pounds). The content of formic acid in early-maturing varieties was at the average level, while that in late-maturing varieties with high formic acid was unknown at the time of writing.
2. Market outlook
In this case, the behaviour between grower and purchaser will be difficult to judge. Buyers are currently selling pre-ordered hops and are waiting for reliable data on the formic acid content of individual varieties to position themselves. In the purchaser-brewer market, the first inquiry and transaction price is much lower than the spot market price in 2007.
In some areas (Poland and Slovenia) growers are expecting prices much higher than normal on the spot market. Therefore, we believe it will take time for the spot market to have a direct impact on transaction prices. In the Czech Republic, due to the large volume of pre-orders, it is not possible to have hops in stock until all of them have been harvested.
Thanks to good German hop growing conditions in 2008, few storms and a large expansion in the United States, the historic supply and demand constraints of brewing have gone. As things stand, the 2008 harvest will not only meet the brewery's demand for formic acid, but also re-expand stocks. Based on the bitter experience of the past two years, the only way to deal with the shortage of supply and demand in poor hop years is to ensure adequate stocks. 2008 was another year in which the lowest stocks of hops were made up. Summer storms are more frequent than in the past, as the effects of weather conditions are obvious and unpredictable. Who can predict what will happen next year?
The main challenge for the wine industry in 2008 will be the shortage of processing capacity. As brewers have exhausted their hop stocks, processors will be burdened with early deliveries of 2008 hops from breweries. While investors have been forced to increase the factory's processing capacity and increase production, we will continue to improve to meet every demand, which has always been our goal.