13 things every brewer should know about buying hops

  1. Don’t buy more hops than you know you need.
  2. Renegotiating contracts is usually possible. In a successful renegotiation, both sides will compromise. Nobody ever gets 100% what they want.
  3. Weather determines the price of a variety on the spot hop market. Weather can create shortages or surpluses of supply of every variety in any given year.
  4. Buying on the spot market requires more flexibility. If you are not able to find the variety you want to buy, you will need to substitute.
  5. Contracting for hops in the future guarantees supply and limits options for changing varieties.

  6. Brewers should buy hops on the contract and spot market, not 100% on one or the other for  price stability.
  7. Hops are perishable and lose value over time … but, when stored properly, not as quickly as brewers think.
  8. Stay in touch – Communication & relationships will get you through difficult times.
  9. No variety is absolutely necessary unless the name of the variety appears on the label. Varieties with similar flavor profiles blended together can substitute for other varieties.
  10. The hop industry is small and there are no secrets – It’s just a question of the time it takes something to become common knowledge. Everybody talks to everybody else.
  11. Proprietary varieties are private property. Somebody owns them and collects a royalty on every pound sold. The owners may choose who produces, buys or sells their varieties and they can change their mind at any time.
  12. Public varieties are open source and freely available for all growers to produce.
  13. Never buy 100% of hop needs for your anticipated growth for future years.