The Victory Brewing Company administrative offices are churning out dozens of projects these days. Today, I’m tackling two seemingly opposing tasks. First, we’re creating a new Hop Wallop t-shirt with the appropriate slogan, Hoppiness is Happiness. But, at the same time, I’m composing this blog post to announce to all of our beloved fans that the hops that give us so much cheer are also giving us a few headaches and sorrows these days.
As you may have read in some news blurbs lately, many brewers are being affected by hop shortages. We consider ourselves both lucky and smart to be virtually unaffected so far. Our friends and competitors have had to close up shop or hugely scale back production. None of those scary situations have happened here at Victory.
So, why the headaches and sorrows? Because we have to tell you that you may have trouble finding Headwaters Pale Ale for the remainder of the summer. The centerpiece of Headwaters is Citra hops. Based on the lead-time needed to order our whole-flower varieties of Citra and the popularity of Headwaters, our supply is not as robust as we’d like. We are unwilling to compromise on the recipe and will only brew Headwaters with the Citra that makes it so delicious.
A little background information on hop purchasing…
In order to secure the exact varieties of hops a brewer wants in the exact form a brewer requires, we need to plan in advance. The reason for this foresight is that, absent of such input, a hop farmers may rip out some of the delicate, aromatic varieties in favor of another high-yield variety favored by industrial brewers in an effort to protect his own business. The unprocessed, whole flower form of hops that we prefer to use here at Victory, all become pellets and oil if not claimed by October 1 of each year, giving us no buffer to dip into if we happened to order less hops than needed. With all of these factors in mind, we typically contract our hops three years in advance with our farmers. Unfortunately, we’re still looking for a crystal ball to help us make these three-year lead-time hop purchases.
We are both thrilled by the popularity of our newest brand and saddened that we have to announce that Headwaters may become scarce until October. At that time the 2011 crop will have been gathered.
Rest assured, we have wheeled and dealed with our hop farmers, offered to pay a premium on the Citra hops, and you will have plenty of fresh-hopped Headwaters to enjoy through 2012.
There are still cases, bottles, and kegs of Headwaters on the market so snag it when you find it. It just isn’t as readily available as you might like. If you’re thirsting for a refreshing summery brew, I recommend a delightful Prima Pils or satisfying Summer Love.