Hops have always been produced to a contract demand. Without this guaranteed sale, the farmers will not grow a variety since it is too risky for them to grow something that may not be used at the end of their harvest. The contracts are written between the farmer and us, as the hop merchant, 5–10 years in advance in most cases. They are based on our own contractual demand placed by the breweries to us, with expectations of what they wish to brew with for the next 1–5 years.
Upon receipt of the hops at harvest, we warehouse, process and repackage the hops before supplying to the contracts we have with breweries. This means that without a bumper crop, it's unlikely that any hops will make their way outside of contractual demand. As hops grow in popularity, larger quantities are planted- however this is driven by our forecasts and naturally, in turn, our contracts. Essentially without a contract its very unlikely you will be able to purchase hops in a current harvest year.
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