Hops Crushed

Hallertau and Tettnang region hit hard by wind and hail storm

A huge wind and hailstorm caused serious damage to the world’s largest hops growing area of Hallertau and Tettnang. Farmers feared at the very least 2,500 hectares of the total 15,000 hectares planted were damaged by heavy rain in the Hallertau region alone.

In Tettnang it has been reported that as much as 25% of the crop was damaged or destroyed.

More details to follow as it becomes available.

Attached files


  1. beerking1 says

    More information, from Hop Union’s Ralph Olsen, via Gregg Wiggins of MidAtlantic Brewing News:

    And a couple more links; these are courtesy of Hopunion’s Ralph Olson, who writes: “At this time, I am not very worried about availability, but more news to come.”


    I’m reading reports which estimate that about 15 percent of the German hop crop was lost.

    Gregg Wiggins

  2. mkunce says

    This is Wyoming hail:

    I suppose we are looking at $30 per pound this crop year! Bunk!

  3. beerking1 says

    This is from Charlie Papazian’s Beer Blog

    A Hail of a Mess for German Hops and Beer May 28, 5:22 PM

    Hops are an essential component of beer. Quality matters. Origin matters.
    Especially for craft pro brewers and homebrewers who delight in the use of whole or pelletized hop varieties in their traditional and innovative beers.
    Hops are the poetry expressed with every beer.

    Incoming reports on the giant hail storm that devastated parts of the German hop crop on Monday, May 26 keep coming in. It’s bad, but not as bad as originally indicated. Reports from hop merchants, distributors, hop organizations and beer importers, John I Haas, HopUnion, German ‘Union of Hop Growers’ and Dutch based Bierenco give their assessments. Here is a summary.


    Favorable growing conditions until the end of May were abruptly interrupted by a severe hail storm that hit the Southern Hallertau in the evening of May 26.

    One source reports:In some instances hop bines were completely stripped of their leaves and shoots; in the worst cases only the wire remains. Approx.
    1.800 hectares (4,500 acres) must be considered a complete loss.

    Another source is reporting: In Hallertau, the worlds’ largest hop growing region, 4,000 hectare (10,000 acres) has been hit. This represents 25% of hop fields in Hallertau. 2,500 acres is completely destroyed; 3,750 acres is reported to have been severely hit and another 3,750 acres has been lightly damaged


    Likewise the Southern part of the Tettnang region was heavily affected by the hailstorm, which passed the area a few hours before it reached the Hallertau. First estimates show that 350 hectares (875 acres) were badly affected, about 400 ha (1,000 acres) moderately and only 500 ha (1,250
    acres) have weathered the storm without significant damage.

    Another source reports: In Tettnang am Bodensee over 30% of hop fields have been damaged or destroyed

    Saaz, Czech Republic:

    Damage to approx. 130 ha (325 acres) is also reported from the Saaz growing region, with 70ha (175 acres) suffering severe and 60 ha (150 acres) moderate damage.

    Another source reports: The Saaz area was partly hit by the storms; around 500 acres in that region was more or less hurt

    John I Haas reports their “Market Outlook”:

    It is unlikely that hop crops will reach long-term averages for the Hallertau and Tettnang after the devastating storm. The total effect to the German crop could be in the neighborhood of 15% or close to 5000 metric tons. Hop merchant John I Haas is reporting that they do not predict another hop shortage for crop 2009 at this point.

    The storm is a forceful reminder of the unpredictability of agricultural markets.

    Hop Union based out of Yakima recalls seeing damage like this in Yakima on occasion. “It does a pretty good job of making a mess out of what it falls on.” Reports hop czar Ralph Olson.

    The 2008 German hop crop was better than average, so there’s likely going to be some pressure on supplies, but not to the extent that hops will be in extremely short supply.


    If you’re a homebrewer and have access to German hops it might be a good idea to vacuum bag/pack a moderate supply of German hops and put them in your freezer for assured availability next year about this time of year when you’ll be wanting to brew those traditional German and Czech pilsener styles or German Maibocks for festive spring celebrations.

    For the average beer drinker this is more information than you ever wanted to know. But now you know how passionate craft brewers are and that they care a lot about the agricultural world of hop origins. It’s all about love of beer and their ingredients and appreciation for those who grow them.

  4. admin says

    I just read in Harry Schuhmacher’s Beer Buinsess Daily that it seems the early reports of crop damage may have been on the pessimistic side (phew!). Harry said it is estimated that about 15-20% of the Hallertau crop is destroyed and that Tettnang crop was about 30-40% of the hop crop damaged.

    Spalt and Elbe-Saale were not affected at all, so the total German crop will be reduced by about 15%. Worldwide, the hop harvest this year is predicted to be greater than demand, so total hop availability should not be tight and prices should not go up because of the storm. Of course that depends on the rest of the season – this was an unusually early storm event. The big hail-type storms in that region of Europe don’t usually occur until late June and July.