Funny how two months ago the idea that craft brewers might get off the supply grid and try planting a few hops - you know, to avoid being soaked by the tightened traditional supply and other rising cost inputs like transportation - was the cause of what might be called confusion. Now, according to Jay, things have cleared up enough for at least one brave attempt to stabilize costs by Lagunitas Brewing of Petaluma, California:
Lagunitas has planted a 1/3 acre test plot in nearby Marshall, California, right on Tomales Bay. I’m not sure about the weather at that location — with fog and wind — but I certainly admire the effort. They’re planted two hop varieties, Emperor and Pathetique (really Nugget and Cascade, but Tony Magee renamed them since they’re not being grown in the Pacific Northwest — and apparently he’s a big fan of Beethoven). If all goes well, they plan on developing five acres at the same location.Good for them. Time to release ourselves from the shackles of the supply chain as much as possible. And this is in addition to hop plantings being renewed if this news from the Yakima Valley is indicative. Here are references to another brewery in Yorkshire doing home-grown hops and one in Wisconsin doing it as well. Not a huge wave yet but as planting season starts and especially later in the summer and into next year when harvest levels start to be assessed, expect to hear more about this sort of self-sufficiency.