Post-Season Hops: Ramp up to Read

By: Kimberly Fontenot

Is there a leading-edge post-season technique to make next year’s hop growing, harvesting and distributing more streamlined and profitable? There are always leaders in the industry who step up, take the risk and invest in the next season with new and improved methods for hop growing.  Their plan of action usually contains strategies they’ve discovered with information not yet widely disseminated, which can bring them and the hop industry prosperity, growth and development.

When leaders within the hop industry concentrate on what needs to change or develop for better crop development, they do so knowing the key to success is ramping up during the post-season to acquire and implement new equipment or processes.

Ziemann Holvrieka, worldwide manufacturers of turnkey breweries, brewhouses and fermentation tanks, developed the Hop Back, a dosing vessel with an integrated sieve unit that provides dynamic hot wort hopping suitable for cone hops. Their Hop Slurry is a stainless-steel vessel that pumps, doses and controls fluid through pellets with the different flow direction.

Left Field Hops

Some growers implement strategies for the upcoming season immediately after harvest. They have learned if you wait, you may no longer be a part of the hop breeders, developers or distributors that are on the precipice of an unlimited future.

Rebecca Kneen of Left Field Hops in Canadian province British Columbia is one of those growers leading the pack in preseason preparation. She said there are plenty of tasks to complete during fall and winter to ensure idea rhizome propagation and hop health and keep growers ahead of the game.

“As a rhizome propagator and seller we make sure we do our fall applications of compost and kelp mean on each plant to allow integration of nutrients and bacteria into the soil,” said Kneen. “Fall planting of green manure crops (in particular fall rye) is done for ground cover over winter and added nutrients in the spring. Fall is also the time to check and tighten trellising. Over winter, consider how to adapt your growth strategies for spring, and make sure you have sufficient supply of anchors, twine, compost and cover crop seed.”

Kneen has a keen eye for what needs to change in the BC hop industry, and how to change it.

“We have a history in BC of over-planting one or two varieties (BC Golding for example), creating both a serious risk of vulnerability to disease and a lack of genetic diversity. We already see some issues with growers finding viruses and mildews in plants propagated in nurseries claiming to be part of the Clean Plant Network and having those plants distributed widely, contaminating a lot of new plantings. What is needed at this point is better oversight of nurseries so that plants being propagated are in fact free of disease, and more encouragement of the growing and use of more varieties.”

Mighty Axe Hops

There are many hop breeders with insights into improving not only their operations but also providing techniques, strategies and lessons learned to other hops breeders, farmers, distributors and entities. Eric Sannerud, farmer and CEO at Mighty Axe Hops is happy to provide advice to other growers for their off-season preparation.

“We make sure they all have a decent blanket of soil covering the crowns as additional winter insurance. We also mow down all the dead material from this growing season, one less thing you gotta do in the spring,” said Sannerud.

Sannerud is a leader in the Minnesota hops industry, encouraging future growth within the industry through partnerships between hop growers and brewers. “Mighty Axe Hops is already vetting for commercial production in the state of Minnesota, and we are leading that charge,” he said.

HAAS/Barth-HAAS Group

HAAS/Barth-HAAS Group takes a different approach to hop growing. As the world’s largest supplier of hops, they have the capabilities and resources to provide the most cutting-edge innovations and methods to their members. In addition to being a hops supplier, HAAS is also a breeder and research brewery with a focus on helping hop growers and brewers be their absolute best.

Roy Johnson, National Sales Manager with HAAS/Barth-HAAS Group, told Beverage Master Magazine that even though methods don’t change, their goals are always moving.

“We don’t change the irrigation or trellis management from one year to the next, but change out poles when needed. We haven’t had to change how we pelletize either for a while as this is consistent with us,” Johnson said. “However, we are seeing a thirty percent increase over last year in our Citra hops, so we are making adjustments to meet that hops growth rate in our post-harvest plans for the 2019 season.” By seeing the future and making plans to challenge themselves, HAAS/Barth-HAAS Group shows why they have consistently conquered and led the market.

Producing crops or products for any industry and taking the lead to help find solutions to current and potential problems, and sharing those solutions, will often lead to a healthier, more supportive industry. When others are aware and can learn from the intelligent, informed decisions made by a grower or developer, it benefits the end user as well.

Hard Work, Innovation and Timing

The post-season harvest has become one of the most critical times of the year for growers. This pivotal time allows growers to address any issues that they faced over the previous season and solve them using proven and innovated techniques.

Hop demand is as high as its ever been going into the 2019 season. The popularity of craft beer is not waining, and the need for hops will continue to grow. However, success is not guaranteed for every grower. Successful hops growers risk trying new things, strategizing and creating innovative developments to improve the crops and the bottom line. Those who never improve, develop or grow creatively, no matter how marketable the industry, will not meet the demands of the industry.

No one can tell the future, and you won’t know what sort of headaches you may face during the 2019 hops season until its here. However, using this post-season to solve what went wrong in 2018 will significantly lessen problems in the future. Invest in yourself by focusing on improving your operations, gaining more experience and create more hop innovations. Strategize, design and implement a unique plan of action. The new and innovative things you try will result in you looking after those who look after you–the customers. Grow for them because, in the end, they are the ones who not only grow your business but the industry as well.

Hop Farming Extends Beyond the Pacific Northwest

By: Robin Dohrn-Simpson

Throughout the U.S., interest in hop farming has expanded beyond the Pacific Northwest. Farming entrepreneurs from California to New York love beer and want to try their hand at growing local hops. They want to discover what varieties will thrive in their soil and withstand regional weather conditions all while creating a local hop source for brewers.

What does it take to grow hops? Growing requires three key components: full sun, access to water for irrigation, and moderate-to-well-draining soil. If this is true in the Pacific Northwest, why can’t regions throughout the country also be prosperous?

That’s precisely what Eric Sannerud and his partner Ben Boo of Mighty Axe Hops in Foley, Minnesota asked themselves.

“There’s really no reason not to grow hops in Minnesota,” Sannerud said. “The cold winters aren’t a challenge for hops. The plant’s perennial structure is deep underground. The plant dies back in the winter. There is nothing necessary to protect it from harsh winters. It springs back to life after the snows melt. The difference in growing in Minnesota is that in Oregon, Washington and Idaho it’s more desert-like. The Pacific Northwest has a longer and hotter growing season, but in Minnesota, there’s more humidity and water.”

Buy Local

In today’s culinary climate the “buy local” movement was also a consideration for them. “We care about where our food and hops come from. It’s important to have local ingredients. We also want to distinguish ourselves from other regions,” Sannerud said.

Eric March and family of Star B Ranch and Hop Farm in Ramona, California, already had a strong buffalo business on 1200 acres. In 2008, Marsh and his wife, Amie, decided to expand and include a hop farm on the property. Since then, they’ve become the largest commercial hop farm in San Diego County.

“I’m an agriculture man at heart,” March said. “I was exploring growing grapes in a newly created wine region outside of San Diego until my wife started researching hops. We discovered that with the growing craft brewing scene in San Diego there is a substantial demand for local hops. We looked at the temperature, soil, sunlight and air needed to grow hops. Although San Diego is coastal, where we live is 30 miles inland. It gets very hot here. We have loose, sandy, loamy soil that is well-drained. We have wells for our water. So we tried it. We currently have three acres planted with Chinook, Cascade, Amalia, Hallertauer and Neomexicanus.”


Like so many other growers, March and his employees taught themselves how to plant and grow hops. “In fact, one of our first years I kept seeing hops cones on the ground and thought my crew was wasting valuable hops,” he said. “It turned out the deer were chewing on the plants and spitting out the hops.” They’ve used that to their advantage now. To battle mildew, it’s recommended not to have greenery right on the ground, but three feet up. “The deer get to eat the base leaves, and since they don’t like the hops, they leave it alone.”

Additionally, throughout the years the Star B team learned how to make the task of harvesting easier and more profitable.

“Before, it was very expensive and labor intensive to have a profitable hops business. Hand harvesting and hand processing of hops, while fun, was extremely tedious and time-consuming. This made it hard to provide larger quantities of hops fast enough to our customers. This led us to purchase a Wolf Hop Harvester from Germany,” said March. “We can [now] harvest up to 170 bines an hour.”

Terroir: the Sense of Place

Terroir is a common word in the wine world and now is being used in craft brewing as well. According to Ann Van Holle, Head of Research and Development at De Proefbrouwerij, a Flemish brewery in Belgium: “Terroir in connection to beer refers to the special characteristics of a region for the cultivation of hops, comprising growing conditions (such as soil composition, nitrogen, moisture) and climatologic conditions as well as biotic variables (such as microorganisms, managing practices). Terroir may have a significant influence on regional hop properties including aroma, flavor, bitter substances and longevity, affecting the brewing values of the cultivated hops.”

Mighty Axe Hops’ Sannerud told Beverage Master Magazine, “It’s important for different regions to have something that sets them apart. We think Minnesota soil and climate create a certain flavor of hops.”

For Star B, the water is what makes a difference. “Our hard water here accentuates the ‘hoppiness,’” said March. “Basically, it pops the hops. People also tell us our hops are citrusy.”

Mighty Axe Hops has received a grant to pilot a two-year program with the Department of Food Science at the University of Minnesota in conjunction with Dr. Zata Vickers, a sensory scientist, on hops terroir. “We want to see if terroir in hops is a thing. There’s a lot of interest in this and quite a few studies, but nothing conclusive,” Sannerud said. “By bringing [together] Mighty Axe’s understanding of hops, the world-class researchers at the University of Minnesota, and St. Croix Sensory’s history of sensory analysis, we are well positioned to do it.”

The study will be conducted mostly through sensory perception, championed by St Croix Sensory. According to their website, “St. Croix Sensory is a laboratory dedicated to practicing state-of-the-art sensory evaluation and to advancing the science of sensory perception.”

Chris VanDongen of the University of Minnesota told Beverage Master, “The University of Minnesota’s Department of Food Service has provided information on how to set up a descriptive analysis panel to measure hops aroma and flavor sensory attributes to the lab. Descriptive analysis is a sensory method where the attributes of products are identified and measured precisely by a trained panel. This type of analysis delivers objective and detailed quantitative information about a product’s sensory attributes.”

Subjects participating in the study have been trained as “noses” to taste and smell hops, according to Sannerud. These “noses” will taste and smell hops from a variety of locations and determine if there are distinct differences between soil types, growing regions and temperature variances, to name a few.

“Aroma and scent are subjective,” Sannerud said. “Our premise is that, like grapes and cheese, hops grown in different places have unique characteristics due to where they were grown.”

By early 2019 the initial results will be in and ready for a follow-up. Sannerud and Boo are excited to see how their hops hold up to those from the Pacific Northwest.

Future Vsion

The partners at Mighty Axe Hops hope to create and grow a strong hops industry in Minnesota that will assist Minnesota breweries in making their beer stand out.

“It’s important for us to have something that sets our state apart from other states,” Sannerud said. “Many smart people are sitting back and watching us; waiting to see if we’re successful; waiting to see if there’s a viable industry there. They’re questioning if there is enough demand and if we can make a go of it. For me, this is long term. I dream of creating and growing a new industry here. I want to build a co-op structure where we would have technical assistance and support with marketing. We want to work cooperatively.”

Star B’s March has similar goals and would like to expand his acreage to include several hop varietals. March also wants to gain the experience and knowledge to grow hops and brew beer on his property. The industry is so new that there are no regulations in place for growing and brewing at the same location. March is working directly with county officials to help build a solid agricultural plan. “Just like the wineries that grow grapes, process them, make their wine and sell their wine at the same location. That’s what I want.”

Hop Growers Anticipate Plenty of Product for Brewers This Year

By: Jim Offner

Brewers across North America anticipate plenty of hops, as growers continue a years-long trend of increased production.

Last year, hop production across the U.S. totaled around 104 million pounds, over 55,000 acres.

The Pacific Northwest is the runaway production leader for hops in the U.S., with Washington alone accounting for 53,000 acres.

“Currently, the Pacific Northwest crop looks very good,” said Ann George, executive director of the Yakima, Washington-based Hop Growers of America (HGA).

Irrigation water supplies are adequate this year, and mild temperatures have contributed to good growing conditions, George said.

Roy Johnson, national sales manager with John I. Haas Inc., which is based in Washington, D.C. but grows hops in Yakima, as well as other regions worldwide, agrees.

“I think we’re going to look at an all-time high, as far as yield,” he said. “Right now, the industry is full of hops, depending on variety.”

Johnson estimates hop acreage in the Pacific Northwest region that includes Idaho and Oregon, as well as Washington, will reach about 59,000 this year, which should produce over 110 million pounds. If such is those predictions hold, he adds, they would be record highs.

However, Johnson also cautions that some varieties likely “will be pretty tight.” He did not specify.

Overall, it looks like 2018 will be productive for hop growers, Johnson said. He also notes that some areas could see earlier-than-usual starts to their harvest activities.

“It looks like they’re coming on real strong in Oregon,” Johnson said. He adds that Washington’s Yakima Valley typically gets underway in September.

“They may be processing hops in Oregon really early in August this year; they look really good now,” Johnson said. “The weather has been really good.”

Indeed, there may be an overabundance of hops on the market this year – a description that also applied to 2017, indicates Brian Tennis, president of the Traverse City-based Michigan Hop Alliance (MHA).

“Same,” he said when asked about the upcoming fall hop market. “There are too many hops in the ground already.”

Supplies, acreage trending up

Brewers sometimes have a different take on supply forecasts, said Jaki Brophy, spokeswoman for the Hop Growers of America.Brewers tend to say there is a shortage, often when they have not contracted for that variety,” she said. “Since that is the only formalized way for brewers to communicate their needs – in addition to guaranteeing a certain amount of supply – there may not always be enough acreage of a particular variety if too many people have counted on being supplied through the spot market.”

Thanks to continued, increased demand for hop-forward beers, hop acreage continues to climb worldwide – U.S. acreage has nearly doubled in five years, according to Brophy’s organization. However, that’s a two-sided issue, HGA points out.

If anticipated acreage is actualized, then in five years’ time, hop acreage in the U.S. will have practically doubled, the organization said. “Thanks to increased contracts with breweries and the rapid efficiency of U.S. growers who can respond so quickly to customer demand, hop acreage has risen 95.8 percent in five years,” HGA reports.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said hop acreage continues to trend upward. According to USDA, total U.S. acreage for hops was 55,339 in 2018, compared to 53,282 a year earlier. Washington continues to dominate production, with 39,273 acres in 2018 – up from 38,438 in 2017. Idaho came in with 8,217 acres in 2018, compared to 6,993 in 2017 – and vaulted past Oregon as the No. 2-producer. Oregon had 7,851 acres this year, just over 7,849 in 2017.

Organic hop acreage in the U.S. is still a tiny part of the business, but it, too, is showing some growth, USDA said, reporting a jump from 315 in 2017 to 431 in 2018.

Since 2012, the U.S. has added 28,465 acres, including the estimated acreage as reported by International Hop Growers’ Convention, and has more than 50 varieties in the ground.

“To put it into perspective, the U.S. acres added in the last five years is larger than the total acreage of any other hop-growing country in the world, outside of our own and Germany, the two largest hop-producing countries,” HGA’s George said. “Further, our estimated 2017 acreage increase (5,185 acres – a 9.8 percent growth) by itself is larger than other individual countries’ total acreage outside of the U.S., Germany, and the Czech Republic.”

A wave of new microbreweries that have sprouted in recent years is a significant driver of that acreage expansion, George notes. “Since about 2012 the acreage increase has been driven largely by the craft sector’s requests for additional aroma hop acreage,” she said.

MHA’s Tennis agrees. “Craft brewers are on the cutting edge and are looking for the next big or interesting hop, so we are constantly looking for new and exciting varieties to plant, or older varieties that brewers may have forgotten about,” he said.

There should be no hop shortfall for the immediate future, Haas Inc.’s Johnson said. “What you’ll see in 2019, you’ll see a decline in acreage. Contracts will come off the books. They’ve got higher inventories and will be using some older hops.”

That’s OK, too, Johnson said. “To be perfectly honest, there’s nothing wrong with a 2- to 5-year-old hop; those are fine. They can use them with confidence. The big thing is the supply has not met demand up to this last year.”

Where is the market predicted to go?

Hops are one of only a few ingredients necessary to make beer. They ignite flavor and aroma and corral runaway sweetness.

Experts point to Cascade as the top variety in 2017, followed by Centennial, although there are more than 60 other varieties available to brewers.

“We use Cascade and Citra; Columbus is the finishing hop, but it’s fairly expensive,” said Tom Williams, owner of St. Pete Brewing Co. in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Grains and hops are an expensive part, but it makes a huge difference on the beer.”

Choosing the right varieties for one’s beer is a crucial step in the process, Williams said. “I think it’s tremendous, the aroma, the bitterness. It’s pretty amazing how the varietals can change. If you need a beer with different varieties, you’d taste a drastic difference in terms of the aroma and the taste. That’s why people are so finicky about which ones they use and when they put them into that beer process.”

The demand for new hop varieties is growing, and brewers likely are moving on from some established varietals, experts say. However, change doesn’t necessarily lead to instability in the hop market, they say.

“We should see some varieties being replaced,” MHA’s Tennis said. “Cascade, Centennial, and Crystal among others are overplanted.”

The market seems poised to accommodate any such changes, HGA’s George said.

“With beer sector growth flattening, most varieties of hops are now adequately supplied,” she said. “While a small increase in Pacific Northwest hop acreage is anticipated this year due to contracting arrangements that were previously in place, acreage is expected to stabilize, with continued ‘rebalancing’ of varieties to reflect changes in contracting.”

Changing varietal preferences could ultimately impact costs, though, said St. Pete Brewing Co.’s Williams.

“For hops, I think it’s going to get more expensive, just because of supply-demand, especially when people try to get into some of these hop profiles,” he said. Even Citra was tough to get a couple of years ago. All it takes is a medium-sized brewery, and they obliterate a crop.”

The varietal choices are part of the fun of the brewing business, but sometimes it’s tough to get ahold of certain hops, Williams said. “I love the different hops,” he said.

For hops that are supply-challenged, costs can escalate in a hurry. “In a 10-barrel batch, we have to pay a premium, but we can go out and get it,” Williams said. “There’s a couple we can’t get, but we can always get them from other breweries.”

The inventory of hops held by growers, dealers, and brewers on March 1, 2018, totaled 169 million pounds, 21 percent more than March 1, 2017, stocks inventory of 140 million pounds, according to USDA. Stocks held at dealer and grower locations on March 1, 2018, totaled 132 million pounds. Hops held by brewers totaled 37 million pounds.

Stocks held by brewers on March 1, 2018, totaled 37 million pounds – which was virtually even with 2015. Inventories held by growers/dealers totaled 142 million March 1, 2018, compared to 46 million in 2015.

While the volume of hop stocks has been increasing every year – the USDA’s 2017 report showed a 9 percent increase – following a 7.5% increase the year prior – the overall production has grown as acreage increases, so the percentage relative to the total U.S. crop has gone down, HGA reports.

In addition to volumes of stocks increasing, there are also developing trends with the stock reports showing a rise in the amount of stocks being held with merchants, and less with brewers. As a perennial plant in which one harvest needs to last a full year of brewing demands, it is typical to have stocks larger than 100% of any given year’s production at this time of year.

“It is important to note that the amount of hop stocks which dealers are holding has increased,” George said. “Merchants are taking on increased risk as the proportion of stocks held in their possession has risen over 10% in the past three years. The stock report is another key signal to the market, and we will continue to monitor these data trends.”

Craft brewers seem to be instigating a wave of new varieties and plantings in general. “While growth in local small brewers has provided opportunities for new hop production across the U.S., this acreage remains small and focused on local brewery use,” George said.

The increase in acreage has generated concern in some corners of the industry about a possible imbalance between “alpha” and “aroma” hop production. Such worry appears to needless, George said.

“While the continued and rapid growth of acreage has some concerned about an imbalance in variety acreage as tastes change and growth in the craft segment begins to slow, growers will be looking to rebalance that over the coming years,” she said. “To note, alpha acreage is projected to be increasing as well in the U.S. after many years of predominate aroma increases.”

More than 60 varieties of hops

HGA’s George points out that there are more than 60 hop varieties grown in the U.S. – “each providing different brewing characteristics.” Each is noted for meandering in a certain aromatic direction. Some are “fruity”; others, “earthy”; others lean “spicy.” The list goes on.

“Every brewery is going to be different, based on their beers,” St. Pete Brewing Co.’s Williams said, discussing variety preference. “Centennial is a big one. Citra is one we like to play around with. There are so many strands of hops, you just never know.”

“What” is one issue where varieties are concerned, but there’s also a question of “when.”

“The timing of when [brewers add the hops to the boil] can make the beer taste completely different,” he said. “We may put a hop in at the last five minutes of the boil and turn it off. They lose their taste and smell quickly on the boil.”

“Each brewery has its own ways. Recipes are specific for this amount of pounds at what time. It’s very specific,” said Williams

West Coast Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) are “higher-hopped” than their New England IPA brethren.

“New England IPA styles use very little bittering hops; they charge it up big-time in the whirlpool,” Haas Inc.’s Johnson said. “They’re using a lot of Citra and Mosaic hops—those are very tight.”

Shelf life comes into play with some brews more than others, Johnson notes. “With New England IPAs, you’re lucky to get 60 days out of them; they’re just not set up to hold as long as other styles of beers,” he said. That’s another reason like the Tree Houses and Alchemists are doing well, because they sell right out of their taprooms. It’s kind of an interesting market being developed. The consumers are equating that cloudy beer with flavor.”

Hops are natural preservatives, Johnson notes. “You’re hopping; you’re put aroma hops into the whirlpool. Most craft beers are stored cold, anyway.”

Securing supplies ahead of time

Brewers typically contract at least a year ahead of time to ensure their hop supplies meet their anticipated demand, MHA’s Tennis said. However, he notes times have changed.

“Contracts aren’t critical as they were in years past because there is so much supply out there, but there some varieties that are still scarce,” Tennis said. He also notes brewers should try to lock down contracts for new Neomexicanus varieties, as well as most varieties coming out of Australia and New Zealand.

Brewers looking for tight-volume hops should secure their supply “as soon as possible,” he said.

Craft brewers should look one to three years ahead concerning contracting hop supplies, Tennis said, noting that more massive operations likely should contract for five years.

The reason is security, but contracts also involve a kind of gamble. “Less risk of price hikes, but you can also get locked into some bad contracts, so be careful,” he said.

In general, Tennis said brewers should sign contracts for each variety they need. “Depends on the variety,” he said. “Some are easy, others you have to be on a waiting list.”

Varieties can dictate how far in advance a brewer needs to contract for supplies. “It’s variety-specific,” Tennis said. “Sometimes, years before harvest, while other more common varieties, it’s not uncommon to sign a few months or weeks before harvest.”

There are no “hard deadlines” for signing contracts to secure hops, George notes. “However, if a customer wants to ensure delivery, getting contracts signed in time for new acreage to be planted – or varieties to be changed – would be necessary,” she said. “In that case, contracting no later than January or February would be recommended. Customers need to keep in mind that first year plantings (babies) are likely to yield only 50 to 75% of a mature crop.”

George also recommends five years for contracts. “Five years is preferred, as it will provide the grower additional years to amortize the cost of establishing a new planting.”

Contracts are good for growers as well as brewers, but contract length is probably variable, St. Pete Brewing Co.’s Williams said. The bottom line is don’t run out of hops. “I’m sure the growers would like to have as much runway in forecasting, but I don’t even know when that would be,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a set [deadline for signing a contract]. If we were bringing a bigger beer to market, I’m sure John (St Pete’s brewmaster) would say, ‘I want to make sure we can get that hop for the year.'”

Williams notes the “bigger-volume brewers” likely will sign longer contracts as “a hedge” against possible supply shortfalls or higher prices.

Haas Inc.’s Johnson said it’s probably best to have contacts finalized “by March or April – before they’re starting to move rootstock and changing portfolios, so they grow the appropriate mixture of hops.”

Some brewers contract directly with growers, Johnson said. “By the end of this year by before the first quarter, before farmer decides what to grow – late February and March. They start twining them in April and May.”

Some brewers also will procure hops on the spot market, to “keep it loosey-goosey.” That can be advantageous, Johnson said.

“See where they are, making sure they’re pulling what they have contracted,” he said. “Another brewer may have what you need available. It’s never stagnant, never solid. It’s always moving around, which is interesting. It can be challenging.”

HGA recommends planning whenever possible, Brophy said. “We try to focus on communicating that if something is integral to your brewery, you should lock it in with a contract. If you are willing to make possible substitutions and aren’t willing to honor your agreement if your growth projection turns out to be inaccurate, then spots may be for you.”

St. Pete’s procurement practices have worked well, Williams said. “We haven’t had any issue that wasn’t our problem for planning and forecasting. That’s the challenge for us; we don’t want to commit to overbuying. Some guys are sitting on 500 pounds of hops at the end of their contract, and they try to unload it.”