Beer hops shortage threatens small breweries

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No image availableNL Times

A bad harvest led to a shortage in beer hops in Europe. The shortage of this indispensable ingredient is especially affecting the smaller breweries in the Netherlands, NOS reports.

Dutch brewers get their hops from Germany, England and the United States. Very dry summers in Europe and the U.S. and a plant disease in the U.K. led to a much smaller harvest this year than in other years. The demand for hops also increased significantly, with the many craft- and micro-brewers added to the scene in recent years.

When it comes to purchasing, small brewers often pull the short straw. They lose out to big brewers who have long-term contracts with the hops producers. A number of hops-types are already hard to get hold of.

This means that small brewers may need to look for other hops to use, if the one they use in their beer is unavailable. This can affect the taste of the beer, even if the change is small. "A lot of people will not even notice it. Unless you put a beer of last year next to one of this year", Arend-Jan van Dieen of the Maximus brewery in Utrecht said to the broadcaster.