HVG Germany: Hopfen


The importance of hops for flavouring beer is indisputable. But what is the economic importance of this raw commodity for the brewery? Perhaps you have already heard that the cost of a crown cap for a bottle of beer is higher than the proportionate costs of the hops.

The average costs which are incurred in the production and marketing of beer in Germany, can be seen here hier. (.pdf, 57kb). Shall we calculate them here?

Let us start at an average hop dosage of about 5 grams of alpha-acid per hectolitre (according to the respective country and beer type the differences are between 2 and 10 grams per hectolitre).

Let us assume the following in our imaginary brewery:

Alpha-acid dosage in the brew-house: 5 g/hl
Alpha-acid yield in the process: 34 % up until the finished beer as iso-alpha
Loss: 6 %
Average hopping costs per kilo alpha-acid: 65.00 euros
Bottle size: 0.333 litre

The hopping costs in a hectolitre wort = 0.325 euro/hl
The hopping costs in a hectolitre wort = 0.346 euro/hl
The hopping costs in a bottle of beer = 0.00115 euro/0.333 litre beer

or 0.12 cent per bottle

Economic industrial comparison:

The following rough estimate shows the economic size of the brewing industry on the one hand and the hop industry on the other hand:

Approximately 1,500 million hl beer is produced worldwide, with which a turnover of about 150 billion euros is attained - with a brewery turnover ex works of the equivalent of 100 euros/hl.

Around 100,000 tons of hops are harvested and processed on the overall about 58,000 hectares of hop acreage worldwide. From this a turnover can be calculated in the hop Industry of around 500 million euros = 0.33 % of the turnover in the brewing industry.
The proceeds from the beer tax alone in Germany amount to about 790 million euros.

Both calculations are based on rough assumptions and are only meant to underline the difference here between both industries.