Samuel Adams Hop Sharing Program
For a couple of months now, we’ve all been facing the unprecedented hops shortage and it’s affected all craft brewers in various ways. The impact is even worse on the small craft brewers–openings delayed, recipes changed, astronomical hops prices being paid and brewers who couldn’t make beer.
So we looked at our own hops supplies at Boston Beer and decided we could share some of our hops with other craft brewers who are struggling to get hops this year. We’re offering 20,000 pounds at our cost to brewers who need them.
Specifically, we are able to spare 10,000 pounds of East Kent Goldings from Tony Redsell, a top English grower featured by Michael Jackson in Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion (page 75 has a picture) and 10,000 pounds of the German Noble hop Tettnang Tettnanger from small farms in the Tettnang region in Germany. These are both type 90 pellets from the 2007 crop and are the exact same hops we brew our own beers with. We’re not looking to make money on this so we’re selling them at our cost of $5.72 a pound plus $.75 a pound to cover shipping and handling for the Goldings and $5.42 per pound plus $.75 a pound to cover shipping and handling for the Tetts. They’re packed in 22# foil bags, boxed four bags to a box in 88 lb. boxes and will be shipped from cold storage.
The purpose of doing this is to get some hops to the brewers who really need them. So if you don’t really need them, please don’t order them. And don’t order them just because we’re making them available at a price way below market. Order them because you need these hops to make your beer. We’re not asking questions, so let your conscience be your guide.
A few mechanics–until we know how much need there is, we’ve put a maximum out there of 6 boxes per brewer, which is 528 pounds. You can order less in 88 pound increments. You pay shipping. If we get more orders than the 20,000 pounds, we’ll have a lottery.
We hope this makes brewing a little easier for those hardest hit by the hop shortage.
HOW TO ORDER:
Send an email to [email protected] with the following information:
- Brewery Name
- Brewers Notice Number
- Brewery Mailing Address
- Shipping Address (for hop delivery if different from above)
- Brewery Web Address
- Contact Person Name
- Contact Person Phone Number
- Contact Person Email
- Amount of Hops Needed – 88 lb increments per variety (specify East Kent Goldings and/or Tettnang Tettnanger; max of 6 boxes = 528 pounds)
Please remember the deadline for submitting your order is March 22. If you have any questions please email us at [email protected].
Brewers will be required to submit a sales tax exemption certificate or a similar state specific certificate to purchase the hops without paying a sales tax. We will contact breweries individually to secure the certificate and a credit card for payment.
Q. What is Boston Beer’s hops sharing program?
A. In response to the worldwide hops shortage, The Boston Beer Company has chosen to release 20,000 pounds of hops to other American craft brewers. Many craft brewers are struggling to get hops in order to brew beer and we wanted to try to help a little.
Q. What hop varieties are being released?
A. Half of the hops are East Kent Goldings from Tony Redsell’s farm. Tony has a reputation as one of the world’s great hops farmers. The other half of the hops are Tettnang Tettnanger hops, a Noble Hop variety from small farms in Germany.
Q. Who is eligible?
A. Any U.S.-based professional craft brewer (as defined by the Brewers Association) is eligible. This includes both brewpubs and small breweries. They must provide their brewers notice number to verify that they are an operating craft brewery.
Q. Are these leftover hops that the company doesn’t need?
A. No. These are hops that we just bought in the 2007 harvest. We could certainly use them, but we felt that the extreme circumstances we are all facing called for sharing hops with other craft brewers.
Q. Are these hops in good condition?
A. Yes. These hops are fresh from the 2007 harvest. They have been kept cold and are in excellent condition. They are packed in foil bags. They are type 90 pellets. These exact hops will also be used in our Samuel Adams beers.
Q. What are the alpha acids of these hops?
A. The Tettnang Tettnangers came in at 4.2% in final analysis of the pellets. The East Kent Goldings came in at 5.96% for the raw hops. This looks like a normal value for this variety and typical for the 2007 crop. Typically there is a very slight movement up from pelletization due to the removal of sticks, leaves, twine, mud, the occasional varmint, and other non-hop material that come in with the whole hops. There’s also a little wiggle up and down in the final analysis. So we’d expect around 6.0% alpha for these hops in pellet form.
Q. What quantities can brewers get?
A. These hops are pelletized and packaged in 88 pound boxes. So, brewers can order as little as 88 pounds of a single variety of hops. The maximum amount we are making available to any one brewer is 528 pounds.
Q. If you need them, why are you letting them go?
A. As the largest craft brewer, Samuel Adams has a little more leeway than some of the smaller craft brewers. We buy our hops under long term contracts with select growers. This hops shortage could be extremely difficult for some of the very small breweries in our industry. We have contracts for 2007, 2008 and beyond for most of our varieties, and in a way, we are betting on a strong 2008 crop.
Q. What are you charging for these hops?
A. We will be selling them at our cost, $5.72 per pound for the Goldings, plus .75 per pound for shipping and handling and $5.42 for the Tettnangs, plus .75 per pound for shipping and handling.
Q. What is the sales tax on hops? Who is covering that cost?
A. Brewers are exempt from paying a sales tax on hops used to make their beers. Brewers will be asked to provide a sales tax exemption certificate to qualify.
Q. What would these hops cost on the open market today?
A. Well, the real problem is that there is simply NO supply. They are not available. Brewers have been searching high and low for new sources and for different hops, but supply has dried up. We have heard of people paying $15 and even $30 per pound for hops that may not be as good as the ones we have.
Q. What will prevent the brewers who buy these hops from reselling them at a much higher price?
A. Nothing other than doing what is right. We believe craft brewers will help one another. We’ve asked brewers to order only what they need and to let their consciences be their guide.
Q. When will the brewers who order the hops receive them?
A. We anticipate shipping out to brewers around the middle of April, shortly after they arrive in the US. Q. Wouldn’t it be easier to go through a hops dealer? A. Yes, it would be, but we wanted to keep the price as low as possible. If we went through a hops dealer, the dealer would take a commission on the transaction.
Q. Are you making a profit on these hops?
A. No, we are not.
Q. What if you get order for more than the 20,000 pounds you have available?
A. If needed we will have a random drawing of brewers to determine who gets the hops.
Q. What if there isn’t enough interest to sell all 20,000 pounds of hops.
A. Given the situation on the world market, that is unlikely, but if it were to be the case, we will use those hops in our Samuel Adams beers.
Q. What is the deadline for brewers to apply?
A. All brewers interested in purchasing the hops must submit their request by March 22.
Q. When will the brewers who qualify receive the hops?
A. Based on when they will arrive in the U.S. we estimate shipping them out in mid-April.
Q. Will you do this again for the 2008 crop?
A. If there is still an inability for some craft brewers to get hops next year, we’ll look at our hop inventories and determine if we can do this again and with how many pounds. Let’s hope that the 2008 crop will be good and we won’t have to do this again.
Q. What should I do if I’m a brewer and have more questions that haven’t been answered?
A. Email us at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you via email.