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Hops are a hardy, easy-to-grow perennial that’s a key ingredient in small-batch beer.
At the center of the flower is a tiny yellow bud that is used to give craft beers their flavor, whether that’s fruity, floral or bitter.
Many people grow a garden of hops for their own use home brewing beer, but on a larger scale, there is a flurry of demand for large-scale producers who can sell their harvest for profits. Growing and cultivating hops isn’t as easy as planting a few seeds, however.
You would need around 10 to 14 acres for a decent start-up garden, as well as trellises because the plants grow upward like vines; a hops harvester so you don’t need people out there picking by hand, and a hops baler to package the buds.
This equipment would come in at a price tag of around $130,000. But remember, these purchases are a one-time cost and will only need maintenance down the line. At current market rates and high demand, your 10-acre crop could rake in around $115,000 per year.
But most of us aren’t ready to plunk down that kind of money, or have the know-how to even begin the process of establishing a hops farm. So it’s time to think about another option: investing in a hops farm.
Are Hops A Good Investment Now?
Demand for craft beer is rising. Commercial beer operations are scrambling.
Beer aficionados are looking for something different. As a result, there are more and more microbreweries producing craft beers, causing a huge upswing of demand for hops.
The US has one of the largest markets for hops anywhere right now. The number of craft breweries in the country leaped by a full 10% between 2018 and 2019 and continues to rise on an annual basis. And craft beers account for about 25% of the US beer market share.
- Currently a $26 billion industry, craft beer continues to gain market share in the overall $111.5B beer economy.
- In 1979, the number of craft breweries was 10. Today, there are more than 5,000.
Craft beers use a far higher number of hops than commercially produced beers. This exploding growth has led to a high demand for hops.
How Can I Invest In Hops?
Truth be told, there isn't a good option for directly investing in hops right now.
Here are your best options for exposure:
- Invest in a brewery. Since the market is growing, you could join the sensation. For example, check out this previous offering for Crowns & Hops Brewing Co on StartEngine.
- Start growing hops yourself. This will require an upfront investment of at least $100,000 for a decent sized operation.
- Sell hops. Since there is such a demand for hops from small breweries, you could become a middleman between farmers and breweries.
As the numbers show, the market for hops, a necessary ingredient in craft beers, is growing in leaps and bounds. Beer drinkers around the country and across the globe are thirsty for smaller batch, hand-crafted brews.
Right now, there isn't a good means for direct and easy investment into hops.