The common organisation for agricultural markets (Single CMO) establishes to the hop production sector legal disposals regarding marketing standards, producer groups, cultivation contracts and imports.
Council Regulation No 1234/2007 of 22 October 2007 establishing a single common organisation of agricultural markets (Single CMO Regulation) which replaced Council Regulation (EC) No 1952/2005 of 23 November 2005 on the common organisation of the market in hops, covers three groups of products:
- hop cones, fresh or dried (CN code 1210 10)
- hop powder and pellets (CN code 1210 20)
- extract of hops (CN code 1302 13)
From 1 January 2005, the former aid of EUR 480 per hectare has been included into the system of single farm payments.
Production and marketing
Hop acreage is cultivated in EU-27 by 3 100 farmers and amounts to 30 000 ha, i.e. 60% of the hops world surface.
The principal producing Member States are:
- the Czech Republic,
- the United Kingdom,
Hops are cultivated in 14 Member States. With approximately 18 000 hectares Germany accounts for 60% of the EU land under hops and about 1/3 of the world's hop-growing area.
At world level, the new tendency is the decrease in the surfaces, particularly in the United States, the world's second producer after Germany.
The reduction of land under hops is in particular corollary to the increase in the yield in alpha acid, the bitter component of the hops which gives beer its bitter taste.
The European Union produces approximately 50 000 tonnes of hops annually. Alpha acid production exceeds regularly 4 500 tonnes.
Annual world production amounted to 100 000 tonnes and approximately 9 000 tonnes of alpha acid, which is too high for the production of beer, considered at 1 900 Million hl. Indeed, it should be approximately 8 000 tonnes of alpha acid at a rate of 4.1 g of alpha/hl. This rate of hopping depends on the type of beer, especially its bitterness, and the hop variety used. Technological progress and the shift in consumer tastes toward less bitter beers mean that this hopping rate falls each year (it was still 6.3 g of alpha per hl in 1995).
Although worldwide beer production has been increasing (+ 30% between 1995 and 2008), the need in alpha acid does not increase at the same level. Following a higher supply than demand, the average prices on the market for hops with contracts and on the spot market are decreasing since 2009.
The EU is traditionally a net exporter of hops on the world market. During the last years, its exports show a surplus of about 20 000 tonnes equivalent of cones [100 kg of hop powder = 110 kg of cones; 100 kg of hop extract = 350 kg of cones].
The European Union and especially Germany are a major centre of world trade in hops.
The EU exports hops mainly in the form of powder or pellets (CN code 1210 20).
The main buyer is Russia, followed by the United States and Japan.
All the Member States except one which produce hops are members of the IHGC (International Hop Growers' Convention) which promotes the exchange of information among producers and with the rest of the sector (merchants and brewers).