Pacific Northwest hops harvest expected to set records

MOXEE, Wash. (AP) _ Hop harvesting in the Yakima Valley is underway and growers are expecting a record 91.8 million pounds in the Northwest this year.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports ( ) that the expected figure is a 16 percent increase over 2015 and can be attributed to the growth of craft breweries and America's budding taste for very hoppy beers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, production of hops has grown 50 percent since 2012.

However, the growth is being greeted cautiously as such a large supply may outpace demand.

Hop Growers of America Executive Director Ann George says unlike a few years ago, some hops are now sitting in warehouses, which signals that demand and supply are close to meeting.

The Yakima Valley grows about 75 percent of the country's hops.