KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) -- Some small craft brewers are having trouble securing enough hops for their flavorful beers, even though Washington farmers have boosted production of the crop in recent years.
Growing demand from craft brewers is prompting more farmers to plant the aroma variety of hops that add herbal, fruity and floral flavors to microbrews.
Reports on Monday said that Washington farmers harvested more than 54.9 million pounds of hops last year, up 13 percent from 2012.
But the number of craft breweries is also growing. As of 2013, there were almost 2,500 craft breweries nationwide, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association. That was nearly 500 more than in 2011.
Mike Sutherland, owner of White Bluffs Brewing in Richland, says those breweries are all competing for hops.