'Demand for hops keeps on getting bigger'

'Demand for hops keeps on getting bigger'

EUGENE, Ore. - Will a hops shortage in Washington hurt Oregon craft brewers?    

"There's not a shortage for us because we contract out every year. We predict how much will grow and how much of each brand we will make," said Matt Van Wyk, brewmaster at Oakshire Brewing.

What's not as certain is how much hop varieties will be available, especially for home brewers.

"This year we have only been able to get maybe one-tenth of what we were able to get last year," Scott Timms with the Falling Sky Home Brew shop said of a sought-after variety called Mosaic.

"There is certainly a demand for hops out there and it keeps on getting bigger," Van Wyk said.

According to the Brewers Association, there were about 2500 craft breweries nationwide in 2013.    That's nearly 500 more than in 2011.

That demand drives interest in the crop. The nation's hops for beer all comes from the Pacific Northwest.

Research shows some hop varieties can be grown in wetter climates, like western Oregon.

Ross Penhallegon at the OSU extension service said there's been a growing interest to grow hops in their own backyards.