Summer heat affecting hops used in NC craft beers

PITTSBORO, NC (WNCN) — Craft beer is a booming industry across the Tarheel State but problems could be brewing for some local breweries due to a lack of hops.

The unseasonably hot temperatures across central North Carolina in June and July means a lower yield of hops, one of the main ingredients used in making beer.

“The weather this year has been negatively impacting our crops.  We had a wet, gray May followed by an extremely hot June and that’s when the plants are becoming to really start to develop,” says Dan Gridley, a hops farmer with Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro.  “The ideal temperature I would suggest would be between that 75 and 85 degree range but most importantly you need to have that low humidity.”

Its not just North Carolina breweries that could be feeling the negative effects. The Pacific Northwest which produces roughly 85 percent of hops used in craft brewing across the country has also experienced an abnormally hot summer.

Lower hops production means some brewers may have to change their beer selection. Instead of brewing an IPA, which uses close to 70 pounds of hops in each batch, they may need to opt for something that requires less instead, like a pale ale.

Some breweries like Big Boss Brewing Company in Raleigh grow their own hops for specialty brews, but do not expect to be feeling the major effects of a lower hops yield this year.  If Mother Nature continues to provide the hops producing areas of US with less than ideal weather conditions, it could become a much larger issue in the years ahead.

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