Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Hop Production in the United States in the 1890s

Some interesting numbers about hop production in the USA totay.

I realise that the West Coast's domination of the industry was later than I thought. According to the figures below, just over half of USA's hops were grown in New York in 1889.

"Hop Production in the United States.
The information promised by the President of the Board of Agriculture to Colonel Brookfield, M.P., in replying to his question in the House of Commons a few days ago, appears in the current number of the Oficial Journal.

The most recent oflicial report says that the aggregate production of hops in 17 States in 1889 was 39,171,270 lbs, grown upon 50,212 acres. The area and production of the five principal States were as under:—

States. Acres. Lbs.
New York 36,670 20,063,029
Washington 5,113 8,313,280
California 3974 6,547,338
Oregon 3,130 3,613,726
Wisconsin 967 428,547

In 1890 the total yield was 36,372,854 lbs, the average yield per acre being, in California, 1,648 lbs., in Washington 1,626 lbs., in Oregon 1,155 lbs, in New York 547 lbs., in Wisconsin 443 lbs, and in the whole of the United States 780 lbs.

The more modern details are unoificial, but they are accepted as authentic, being supplied to the department by the annual review of The Californian Fruit Grower. From this source we learn that the growth of hops in California showed considerable increase during the following years, the production being as under:—

Year. Bales. Year. Bales.
1890 28,000 1893 51,000
1891 36,000 1894 67,500
1892 39,000 1895 52,000

The same authority, also quoted in the journal of the Board, gives the following figures of acreage and production of the Pacific Coast, US, for two years, viz.:-

1894 1895
Acres. Bales. Acres. Bales.
California 8,600 67,500 8,500 52,000
Washington 10,000 49,000 5,700 28,800
Oregon 15,000 63,000 16,500 99,500

The figures given for 1895 fairly represent the present. position in the Pacific States. Owing to the unprofitable trade of the subsequent period there has been no enlargement of the area under crops, nor has any material decrease taken place. The above returns therefore furnish an emphatic reply to the complacency of certain English planters, who flatter themselves with the assumption that the competition of Californian hops has been “knocked out," and need no longer be reckoned with seriously. The acreage on the Pacific Coast has been expanded in six years from 12,217 to 30,070 acres, while the production has grown from 102,635 bales to 180,300 bales in the same period. As the acreage and production of the Eastern States have not been reduced to any important extent, and as the local consumption has practically remained stationary, it follows that outside markets must be sought for the surplusage."
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 298.
Looking at the yield per acre, it's pretty obvious why the industry was headed west. The yield in Oregon was double that of New York, and in California and Washington it was three times as high.

I've added percentages to the figures for 1889 to make them a bit clearer.

States. Acres. Lbs. Acres. Lbs.
New York 36,670 20,063,029 73.55% 51.49%
Washington 5,113 8,313,280 10.26% 21.33%
California 3,974 6,547,338 7.97% 16.80%
Oregon 3,130 3,613,726 6.28% 9.27%
Wisconsin 967 428,547 1.94% 1.10%
Total 49,854 38,965,920

What would the figures for today look like? I'd guess Washington would come out on top.

Up until WW I, the UK would continue to import serious quantities of American hops.


Stan Hieronymus said...

Washington accounts for three quarters of US production.


Mike in NSW said...

Much of the Eastern crop was destroyed by aphids and downy mildew, hence the low yields and the shift Westwards. I believe that hops are once again being grown in New York State and getting favourable reviews from craft brewers.