My recently arrived 1946 Brewers' Almanack might have disappointed me in terms of the details of wartime brewing restrictions. It did deliver in other ways. Such as this breakdown of the size and output of England's different hop-producing regions.
Hop growing was concentrated in a few locations, mostly in the Southeast. Only eight counties produced any hops at all. And three of those only grew tiny amounts.
No shock that Kent had by far the largest acreage, just over 50% of the total, and produced the most hops, almost 60% of the total. Within Kent, the Weald was number one, followed by Mid-Kent and East Kent.
Sussex, one county West of Kent was also a major player, coming third after Kent and Hereford. Harveys to this day buys all its hops from Sussex growers.
Hereford is a funny one. It had the second biggest output and was way ahead of number three, Worcester. Yet I can't recall it ever popping up in brewing records. While Worcester does appear with great regularity. I'm guessing that hops from the two counties were lumped together under the name Worcester.
Surrey may have grown relatively few hops, but they were top quality. Considered the equal if the best East Kents.
Brewers would have been happy with the 1945 harvest, which was 11% greater than in 1944. With no hops being imported, the 1945 crop would have to keep them going through 1946.
|Production of hops in England 1944 - 1945|
|Counties, etc.||Acreage Returned in June||Estimated Average Yield per acre||Estimated Total Production|
|1944||1945||Average of Ten Years 1935-1944||1944||1945||1944||1945|
|Berkshire and Salop||53||52||12.8||11.8||10.9||600||600|
|1946 Brewers' Almanack, page 92.|