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3 Things I've Learned About Canadian Hops

Photo by Ryan Bruce, used with permission via Burst photos. 

 

Here are three things I’ve learned while looking into the Canadian Hops Industry- other than it’s difficult to find recent statistics:

1) In a 2009 survey by the Ontario Craft Brewers, the top five hops brewers were interested in purchasing were, by order of interest:

  • Hallertauer
  • Cascade
  • Sterling
  • Saazer
  • Nugget

See the full list here: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/hort/news/hortmatt/2013/03hrt13a4.htm
Could not find an update to the survey, but fairly certain it would look very different today. 

2) The number of hop farms in Ontario was growing at a fairly rapid pace over the past decade. In annual survey’s by Ontario Beverage Net (www.ontariobev.net) the number of active farms were jumped from 40 in 2015 to 60 in 2016, the last year that the report is available. Largely in response to local brewer interest -95% of surveyed brewers were interested in using local hops.

3) According to research published in 2015 by Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia, hop farms can become profitable on a yearly basis in year two of operations (https://www.kpu.ca/sites/default/files/ISFS/Hop.pdf). Total costs average about $16,000 CAD annually.

Bonus fact I learned along the way: Harvesting hops by hand takes about an hour per mature bine for a single person. Considering that farms are planted at densities of 800 to 1,500 plants per acre, commercial production without a mechanical harvester of some kind is very, very difficult.

 

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