International Hop Industry Congress
 04. - 07. August 1998

 Yakima, Washington

Pre-congress information
Technical Commission Report
Economic Commission Report
Secretary General's Report



United States Hosts World Hop Growers in 1998

The 46th Annual Convention of the International Hop Growers Congress (IHGC) will be held August 4-7, 1998 in Yakima, Washington, U.S.A. Organized by the Hop Growers of America, the event will bring together growers, merchants and top executives from the world's hop and brewing industries to discuss pertinent issues.

Topics will include a pre-harvest assessment of the 1998 hop crop; analysis of existing market conditions and forecasts on its future; and updates on research being conducted by industry scientists.

A highlight of the convention will be a tour of the Yakima Valley hop growing area, with stops at hop farms, processing plants and research facilities. Guests will also visit the American Hop Museum for a western barbecue, featuring country music, conestoga wagon rides and tours of the town's historical murals. During the Congress, member countries will bestow the prestigious "Order of the Hop" award, the highest honor in the international hop industry, upon deserving representatives from their respective countries. On the final day, the event will shift to Seattle, Washington for the Grand Finale Reception and Dinner at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center.

An optional program will be hosted by the Oregon Hop Growers Association immediately prior to next year's Congress. Participants will be treated to a rodeo, Indian dancers, hay rides and a sternwheeler boat ride on the Columbia River. The program is scheduled for August 1-4, 1998.

It is only the third time the United States has been selected to host this international meeting and convention. Member countries of the IHGC include: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, and the United States.

To obtain more information on the 46th International Hop Growers Congress, please contact the:

Hop Growers of America at
P.O. Box 9218, Yakima, WA 98909, U.S.A.,
Tel: (509) 248-7043, Fax: (509) 248-7044,



Technical Commission Report

It is great pleasure to welcome all delegates to the Technical Commission meeting of the 46th IHGC here in the beautiful Yakima Valley of Washington State – my adopted home.

It is gratifying to see so many of you here, especially considering the difficult times which our industry is going through at present. I trust that the program we have put together finds your favour and contributes to making the visit a worthwhile learning experience.

In a varied and hopefully entertaining program there were 4 papers presented:

On their behalf, I thank all of those involved in the production and presentation of those papers and I trust you find them informative, interesting and timely. Once again my best wishes to you all for an enjoyable and fruitful Congress.

Dr. Gregory K. Lewis
Chairman of the IHGC Technical Commission



Summary Report of the IHGC Economic Commission

The compilation of those estimates turned in from individual countries has produced the following results from this harvest:
- Estimated cultivated acreage for 1998 : 53,894 ha. ( -6,152 vs. '97)
- Estimated production for 1998 : 1,727,562 cwt. ( -193,354 vs. '97)

With these figures it must be noted that the acreage reductions apply especially to aroma hops. Bitter hops fare somewhat better in that the acreage reductions are to some extent balanced out by the introduction of more productive varieties.

What, then, is the outlook for today's hop market? The hop industry, a free and open world market, is deep in crisis:

All of these factors upset the balance of our markets. Worldwide, growers are finding themselves in a state beyond crisis, with hop prices already long failing to cover production costs; the former continue to fall while the latter unfortunately are still rising.
Ladies and gentlemen, we must meet this crisis with energy, we must take pragmatic account of reality; there is no point whatsoever in blaming one another: only solidarity can help us further. Systematic reductions of acreage must continue: this is now our only chance to fit our supply to demand and achieve a price level that is acceptable to our growers.

Two questions confront us:
First, can the IHGC set policies that will be binding on all members?
Second, where is the low mark for hop demand, and have we reached the bottom of the valley yet?
It can only be emphasized that if we do not seize the initiative ourselves, the market will again adjust itself, and it will once again be much more uncomfortable for all concerned.

Jean-Paul Feldmann



Report 1997/98 by the Secretary General


Dear Mr. President,
dear ladies and gentlemen - congress visitors!

It is a privilege and a special honor for me to welcome all the participants of this Congress in Yakima. It is held for the third time in the history of our hop organisation in the USA - in a country which has also a long tradition of a hop growing. In these days of our Congress, Yakima might be again proclaimed as the "hop metropolis of the world". The previous Hop growers’ Congresses were held in Yakima, WA in 1977 and in 1986. Cordial thanks to US Hop growers as well as to all who - during the preparation period - contributed to the Congress organisation.

The last Congress in 1997 was held in Prague. Our warmest thanks ought to be addressed again to Czech hop growers and their IHGC - representatives especially to Mr. František Chvalovský and his colleagues.

A world Hop market situation at the moment is still influenced by an overproduction of hops. Data as well as problems of a hop supply were between the two congresses discussed at the meetings of the Economic Commission on December 3, 1997 in Nuremberg and on March 2, 1998 in Paris – lead by Mr. Jean-Paul Feldmann. The Paris meeting was held also within the Joint Trade Commission where also representatives of the European Hop Merchants’ Association were present.
The IHGC data for 1997 presented on the Paris meeting have show the Hop area of 60.177 hectare (-9% in comparison to 1996) and Hop production of 1.924.376 ztr. (-11% compared with 1996). The Alpha production was 7.845,8 tonnes (-4,7%).
A hop growing situation remains world-wide very serious. It is obvious that a global hop industry is in a very difficult financial situation. Also breweries show no big interest to make contracts - or, for growers at non acceptable prices. Some traditional production areas of the Central and Eastern Europe are therefore even in a danger to be much reduced. A balance on the hop supply might be changed in the future or even that a concentration of a hop production within the “USA/Germany” block could appear.
This oversupply of alpha, combined with the continued decrease of beer consumption in some world markets have resulted in low prices in the hop market. To soften a bit the growers’ position concerning the difficult situation on a world market, already several resolutions of the IHGC Executive Committee have been adopted with an intention to support the necessary measures concerning the supply reduction. In this direction close contacts with Hop trade, and as much as possible, with breweries, are also necessary.

The Technical Commission had met during the last congress in Prague and on March 2, 1998 in Paris. On its meeting during the last congress a varied and interesting program with four papers on very diverse subjects was presented with a success. On the second meeting the program for this congress in Yakima with proposed papers was presented and discussed by its chairman Dr. Gregory Lewis.
After the last meeting of the Scientific Commission from 29. July to 1. August, 1997 also proceedings have been published and distributed. I owe thanks to Prof. Dr. Vaclav Fric from the Czech republic - as its president. Thanks are addressed also to Dr. Elisabeth Seigner from Germany, who was active as the secretary of this commission.
For a conferment of a Hop order 1998, 22 proposals have been submitted: 18 nominations for the first degree (Knight) and 4 for the second one (Officer). These were confirmed by the IHGC Executive Committee at the meeting on August 5, 1998. I do heartily congratulate all decoration holders.
I would like to thank Mr. Norm Batt as the IHGC President and all three Vice presidents, the Chairmen and members of Commissions, as well as, to all who contributed to the effective work of Commissions. I do expect a pleasure of our further successful collaboration. For detailed reporting on IHGC events and data exchange into the publications I feel much obliged to the manager of the "Hop growers of America", Mr. Sean McGree as well as to the chief-editor of the German hop magazine "Hopfen-Rundschau", Mr. Otmar Weingarten.

Finally, thanks again to all representatives of our 16 member countries for a confidence.

Dr. Martin Pavlovic