October 5, 2006

A great tragedy for beer drinkers

One of the worlds premiere locations for growing hops is to the east of us in the Yakima River Valley. The conditions are ideal and this valley produces 75% of hops used in the US. Last Monday, two million pounds (about 4% of the US output) went up in smoke in a warehouse fire. From the Yakima Herald-Republic:
Hop warehouse burns to ground in Yakima
About 4 percent of the nation's total hop yield was lost to fire Monday, as 2 million pounds of the pungent beer-making crop smoldered in a Yakima warehouse.

The fire began just before noon in a Division Street warehouse leased by S.S. Steiner Inc., filling the lunch-time sky with smoke. It was under control by Monday evening, allowing cleanup crews to start hauling away the damaged hops. Firefighters expected to monitor the scene through the night in case hot spots flared up.

"This will affect the U.S. market particularly because in some of the varieties, there was a feeling we were already a little short this year," said Ann George, the administrator for the Moxee-based Washington Hop Commission.

Representatives of the Steiner company declined to comment Monday afternoon.

The hops, packed in 10,000 bales weighing about 200 pounds each, were probably worth between $1.75 and $2 per pound, based on average prices this year, George said. That puts the fire's monetary damage between $3.5 million and $4 million. Depending on the varieties, the hops' value per pound could be even higher, she said.
Brewers everywhere issue a collective sob. Posted by DaveH at October 5, 2006 5:08 PM
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