Demand for craft beers sparks surge in US hop production

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Weekend Sip: A $199 Beer for the Holidays

MOXEE, Wash. (AP) -- Demand from craft beer brewers led to an 11 percent increase in U.S. hop production in 2015 compared to the previous year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service says production totaled 78.8 million pounds.

Those three states produce about a third of the world supply. Oil from hop cones is used in beer for flavoring and stabilizing.

See more in the gallery below:

19 PHOTOS
Craft Beer
See Gallery
Demand for craft beers sparks surge in US hop production
In this Sept. 11, 2014 photo, Tom Owens of Marion, Mass., left, buys Heady Topper from sales clerk Victor Osinaga at Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury, Vt. Owens traveled to Vermont in order to buy the beer. Osinaga is one of the shop’s owners. Heady Topper, the intensely hoppy American double IPA by The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vt., is wildly popular, and famously hard to get. (AP Photo/J.M. Hirsch)
This Sept. 11, 2014, photo shows the exterior of Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury, Vt. The story sells Heady Topper, the intensely hoppy American double IPA by The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vt., that is wildly popular, and famously hard to get. (AP Photo/J.M. Hirsch)
This Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014 photo shows Kate Lee, of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, using a microscope to count yeast cells in beer samples in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The brewery in Richmond brought in Lee, a veteran from Anheuser-Busch to head its quality assurance program. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014 photo shows Kate Lee, of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, as she draws a sample of beer from a tank in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The brewery in Richmond brought in Lee, a veteran from Anheuser-Busch to head its quality assurance program. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014 photo shows Kate Lee, of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, using a hydrometer to test beer samples in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The brewery in Richmond brought in Lee, a veteran from Anheuser-Busch to head its quality assurance program. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This Tuesday Aug. 5, 2014 photo shows Rick Grymes, a lab analyst at Anheuser-Busch’s Williamsburg, Va., brewery, testing samples at the brewery's lab in Williamsburg, Va. One of the major things that separate home brewers from professional brewers is being able to not only brew a great beer but the exact same beer over and over again. (AP Photo/Michael Felberbaum)
FILE - In this May 22, 2014 file photo, Blanton Webb, left, an employee at LUCK (Local Urban Craft Kitchen) walks by the large number of beer taps that serve a variety of popular and local craft beers in Dallas. In a rule change, announced in June 2014 by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, federal officials have simplified parts of the approval process for bringing new beers to market. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
In this April 12, 2014 photo, Grayton Beer Company owner Jamey Price discusses a proposed bill that could affect Florida's craft brewing industry in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. Florida allows breweries to fill quart and gallon containers, called growlers, at their tap rooms, but the half-gallon size that’s the industry standard in 47 other states remains illegal. The latest legislation proposed would force breweries to buy their own beer from distributors at a markup before they can sell cans and bottles to brewery visitors. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)
In this April 12, 2014 photo, Grayton Beer Company owner Jamey Price discusses a proposed bill that could affect Florida's craft brewing industry in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. Florida allows breweries to fill quart and gallon containers, called growlers, at their tap rooms, but the half-gallon size that’s the industry standard in 47 other states remains illegal. The latest legislation proposed would force breweries to buy their own beer from distributors at a markup before they can sell cans and bottles to brewery visitors. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, Josh Terrell organizes beer making supplies at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, a customer sits at the bar at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed and they stock over 1,200 different kinds of beer. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, a row of beer taps stand ready to serve at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, a row of beer taps stand ready to serve at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, Randy Posey of Jasper, Ala., shops for beer at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed and they stock over 1,200 different kinds of beer. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, shoppers search for their favorite beers at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, Josh Terrell discusses his beer making supplies at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, cans of Heady Topper roll off the line at The Alchemist in Waterbury, Vt. As craft brews gain an intense following, a black market has bloomed. A Burlington woman was charged with illegally selling five cases of Heady Topper for $825 on Craigslist. Heady Topper, which retails for $3 a can and $72 a case, was recently ranked No. 1 by Beer Advocate magazine out of the top 250 beers in the world. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Brewmaster Larry Sidor describes the extra ingredients and aging that went into producing the 11 percent alcohol by volume Black Butte XX, known in the trade as a big or extreme beer, at the Deschutes Brewery warehouse in Bend, Ore. Extreme brews are among many craft beers that are grabbing a growing market share in the United States from their mass-produced heavily advertised counterparts. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Production and acreage increased in all three states despite extreme heat early in the season and a low winter snowpack that influences irrigation.

"Considering those challenges and the amount of first-year plants in the ground which have smaller yield, we are pleased with the final count and looking forward to next year," Ann George, executive director of Hop Growers of America and the Washington Hop Commission, told the Capital Press in a story on Friday.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service said the preliminary value of the crop is $345.4 million, up 33 percent from the 2014 crop.

The report said growers received record prices because production shifted to higher-value aroma varieties in response to increased demand from craft breweries.

Demand for those aroma varieties has driven demand "to a level that has challenged the industry to continue to expand production at an equivalent rate," George said.

Washington state had the highest number of acres harvested going back to 1915. Idaho had its highest production and acres harvested since 1944.

George said hop acreage in the Pacific Northwest has increased 48 percent in the last three years.

Meanwhile, George said, European producers had one of their toughest years in more than a decade due to drought, with production dropping 24 percent compared to last year.

She said production in Germany, which produces a third of the world crop, is down 26 percent.

Watch more coverage:

Definitively the Best Beer in America

More from AOL.com:
Holiday wine pairing tips
3 holiday cocktails your party guests will love
Why you might want to ignore that sell-by date

Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Search Recipes