Craft beer fans have been warned they could be paying more for their pints due to a combination of a poor European hop harvest and increased demand for craft beer.
However, Institute of Brewing and Distilling chairman Nigel Sadler, who is also a brewing tutor and Cask Marque assessor, told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser the shortage could force craft brewers to become more innovative in a market currently dominated by hop-forward beers.
“There is a hop shortage and it’s been building for a while. There has been an explosion of craft brewing not only in the UK, but worldwide and everybody is chasing the same heavily aromatic hops. Beer has become one dimensional in terms of flavour.
"There are so many other ways to get flavour into beer than just adding hops, even going back to adding herbs and spices, so this may be a good situation.
“Hops are available but not the ones that people want, which will require brewers to more creative and less heavy-handed with their hops. It’s an exciting time to pull away from the hop-lead market. Craft brewers will have to reinvent major styles and be more economical with the hops they do have.”
He added that the rising price of hops could spell trouble for some smaller brewers.
“If the price of hops rises to £40 or £50 a kilo and that’s not what you paid last year, that’s a significant hop bill and it may be the tipping pint for smaller brewers if they don’t adapt and change.”