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Thread: When will ChiefsCrowd.com hit 100,000 posts?

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    Default When will ChiefsCrowd.com hit 100,000 posts?


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    When will ChiefsCrowd.com hit 100,000 posts?
    On or Before October 14th
    October 15th or after.

    I'll juice up the odds to help the arrowcash economy.


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    Quote Originally Posted by rbedgood View Post
    you are correct sir...someone call hermhater...we'll get paid off on this bet before sunrise.
    Hmm, maybe I should start posting a bunch of Wall Street Journal articles to build up my casino cash some more. heh
    THAT quarterback is NOT a Pro Bowl quarterback. Never was and never will be.

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    You'd better hurry...I'm guessing we hit the mark and the event pays out before tomorrow night.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 49ers own my heart, but the Chiefs will always hold a better than neutral spot for giving my favorite player a place to leave with grace...

    Resident Comedian/Statistician/Researcher/Diplomat

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    Stocks fell for the seventh straight trading day on Thursday, continuing what amounts to a slow-motion crash that has pulled the market down more than 20% over that brief period.
    On its way down, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through another milestone, closing below 9000 for the first time since 2003, wiping out the bulk of the gains from the last bull market. The decline leaves America in one of its worst bear markets in decades, a slump that is triggering comparisons to long-running declines of the 1930s and 1970s.


    Dow Hits Seventh Straight Loss

    1:35WSJ reporter Peter McKay speaks about the on-going crisis on Wall Street as the Dow hit its seventh straight loss. (Oct. 9)





    Thursday's decline -- the 11th largest in percentage terms in the Dow's history -- put the stock market either in, or nearly in, a crash. A common definition of a crash is a 20% decline in a single day or several days. The Dow's crash in 1987 was 22.6% in one day. The 1929 crash was back-to-back declines of 12.8% and 11.7%.
    This week's relentless selloff has been driven by deepening fears about the banking system, and the spillover effects it may have on the rest of the economy. Investors were spooked on Thursday by a Standard & Poor's report raising the possibility that General Motors Corp.'s debt will be downgraded. Its stock fell 31%, closing at its lowest price since 1950, according to data from the University of Chicago.
    In Asia Friday, markets plunged. Tokyo's Nikkei Stock Average ended down 9.6%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 7% in recent trading. (See related article.)
    The market rout in the U.S. is rapidly wiping out vast amounts of wealth, casting a pall over households and businesses. U.S. stocks, as measured by the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000, shed $872 billion in market value on Thursday, $2.5 trillion over the last seven trading sessions, and $8.4 trillion since hitting an all-time high one year ago Thursday. The index includes almost all U.S. public companies.



    Although the specific economic problems are different than in the 1970s or the 1930s, the markets are now behaving in a similar way. Although they rally, sometimes for extended periods, they eventually give back most of their gains as investor faith in a recovery fades.
    "We are in a secular bear market," says Russ Koesterich, head of investment strategy at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco, using Wall Street jargon for this kind of prolonged weak period. Analysts distinguish between long-running "secular" periods and shorter-term bear markets, such as the one that occurred from 2000 through 2002.
    "We had a secular bear market from 1968 to 1982, and another that began in 1929," Mr. Koesterich says. Stocks sometimes mount strong rallies during the lengthy weak periods. They nearly doubled in value from 2002 through 2007, but have since given back most of those gains.
    Mr. Koesterich thinks some kind of sharp rally may be coming, but maybe not right away. "It will take government intervention and some kind of coordinated government effort to recapitalize the banking system," he says. "And right now, that isn't working."
    Thursday's trading dragged the Dow industrials down 678.91 points, or 7.33%, to 8579.19, the lowest finish since May 2003, and the largest one-day percentage decline since 1987. The index is down 39% since hitting a record 14164.53 one year ago. The size of the Dow's recent declines surpasses anything seen in the past two bear markets, and is the largest seven-session percentage drop since the days surrounding the 1987 crash.
    More



    As the day progressed, traders say, fear seemed to feed on itself, and people began selling stocks wholesale.
    Some investors reacted badly to reports that the government is considering taking a direct financial holding in some major American banks -- a potential intervention intended to reassure the markets. The news fanned fears that the worst isn't over for the American banking system, and some investors are worried about bank failures.
    The way some investors see it, if the government feels the need to intervene more drastically, the problem might be even larger than it had seemed. That kind of self-reinforcing fear is symptomatic of a secular bear market, where bearish sentiment trumps fundamentals.
    "We've seen unprecedented intervention, and markets yawned it off. That shows how dire it is," says Greg Collins, chief executive of Fountain Hill Investments in Orlando, Fla.
    "A lot of people are hopeful that this market will put in a bottom," he says. "Ultimately, they've been forced to get out of the way, because the selling pressure is so high. Every time there has been strength in the morning, everyone says maybe we'll get some type of bounce." Instead, he says, "strength has just been an opportunity to sell. Until we see some signs of stabilization, it is a trader's market."
    During a long bullish period -- a secular bull market like the one between 1982 to 2000 -- investors become increasingly optimistic. They begin to ignore warning signals, pushing prices to unsustainable levels in the belief that stocks will remain strong for decades to come. Setbacks like the 1987 crash, which occurred early in that long bullish period, are remedied with unexpected speed, and before long optimism returns to markets. Investors treat dips as buying opportunities.
    During long bear markets, that optimism is unwound. The process can take years, which is why secular bear markets can last for 14 years or longer, like the one from 1968 to 1982. Typically, such bear markets are accompanied by repeated economic disappointments, as excesses that developed during long periods of growth are unwound. That was true during the 1970s, and it seems to be the case now, although the underlying economic issues are different.



    At the height of the 1990s bull market, the price of stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose to more than 30 times company profits, a record level that was more than twice the historical average. Between March 2000 and October 2002, the S&P 500 fell 49%, but its price-to-earnings ratio never fell to the historical average of 15 or 16.
    To some market analysts, that meant stock values were still too high and investors were still too optimistic. During periods of stock-market weakness, price-to-earnings ratios eventually fall below their averages, sometimes into the high single digits, as they did during the last long-running bear market.
    At Thursday's close, the price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 was down to 10.7, the lowest since the early 1980s.
    During the 1970s -- a period of oil-price spikes, rampant inflation and double-digit interest rates -- the Dow industrials staged several strong rallies, but always fell back again. The index rose 32% from November 1971 through January 1973, reaching 1051.70, only to fall 45% over the next two years, according to Ned Davis Research. The Dow kept reaching the 1000 level and falling back. It didn't leave that milestone behind until 1982.
    The 1930s were an even more devastating period for the economy. Stocks gave up most of their value between 1929 and mid-1932, before entering a period of ups and downs. Gains were erased by repeated setbacks. Analysts say that a long-running bull market didn't begin again until 1942.
    One big difference this time around is that policy makers are thought to be using far more effective tools than they did in either the 1930s or the 1970s. That has led many investors to hope that the damage may not be as severe this time around. But the hope is muted by the fact that no one knows how deep the financial crisis will be.
    THAT quarterback is NOT a Pro Bowl quarterback. Never was and never will be.

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    THAT quarterback is NOT a Pro Bowl quarterback. Never was and never will be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guru View Post
    Not a laughing matter...
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 49ers own my heart, but the Chiefs will always hold a better than neutral spot for giving my favorite player a place to leave with grace...

    Resident Comedian/Statistician/Researcher/Diplomat

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    How about this...

    The future of beer.

    When Montana Brewing Co. won the "Small Brewpub of the Year" award at last year's Great American Beer Festival, owner Travis Zeilstra attributed much of his success to a Northwestern bitter hop called Northern Brewer, which he adds to 40% of his brews to achieve a bold flavor and clean aftertaste.
    But when his current batch of hoppy beers runs out in the next month or two, Mr. Zeilstra will be forced to alter his prized recipes. Since the beginning of this year, his cost for Northern Brewer has increased from $5 a pound to $40. Mr. Zeilstra has grudgingly paid the new price on the spot market, but the cost is too much for him to continue, and even if he could, he would not be able to get a contract for the sought-after hop until 2013, as the upcoming harvests have already been contracted out to larger brewers.



    Brewers are descending on Denver this week for the 27th annual Great American Beer Festival, the U.S.'s largest beer gathering in which nearly 2,000 brews compete. They are facing soaring costs and a shortage in hops, the plant used to give beer its bitterness, aroma and flavor. It was about this time last year that brewers first started to feel the impact of the current hop crisis -- a loss of 10,000 acres world-wide in 2007 -- caused by a bad crop from Europe, growing demand in Asia (where beer sales have increased 3% each year for the past half decade), and decades of reduced acreage in favor of real-estate development and more lucrative crops.
    Since the summer of 2007, the shortage has pushed the cost of hops from around $3-$5 a pound to $20-$40 a pound. It has forced almost all craft brewers -- small, independent and traditional breweries -- to raise retail prices. Smaller brewers, who don't typically have contracts on hops, have had to pay the higher costs, alter recipes or turn to less hoppy brews such as wheat beers, stouts and Pilsners.
    "It's been a struggle, but you have to be able to adapt," Montana Brewing Co.'s Mr. Zeilstra says. "I have a couple of other hops that I use as a substitute. Some of them will work very closely and are interchangeable, but others are not. We are just going to have to see how people react to them."
    As hops prices have risen, so has consumer demand for the bolder beer styles hops provide, such as India Pale Ales (IPAs) and seasonal drafts like Oktoberfest beers and pumpkin ales. According to market data through July, sales for IPAs and seasonal beers this year have seen the greatest increase among craft beers, 8% and 16% respectively. The largest -- and most competitive -- category at the Great American Beer Festival is the American Style IPA.
    "Consumer demand continues to go hoppier and hoppier," says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, a nonprofit group based in Boulder, Colo., that works with craft brewers and runs the Great American Beer Festival. "What we are seeing is that when [brewers] can't get the hops they want, they are coming out with different beers. Some are rationing their own beers."


    Trouble Brewing

    3:51Weather conditions and growing demand for small craft brews are causing a major shortage of hops and driving up prices. MarketWatch's Paul Lin talks to Vermont brewers about what it means for the industry.





    Rising Prices

    As the hops crisis became more apparent at the beginning of the year, Bear Republic Brewery in Northern California, whose better known brews include Red Racer IPA, Hop Rod Rye and Red Rock Ale, raised it prices almost immediately, from a $8.50 a six pack to $10.
    Owner Richard Norgrove says he got an earful from distributors who said the company would lose market share to other craft brewers: "It was met with a lot of apprehension. Sure enough, 60 days later everybody was doing the same."
    Price hikes have been almost universal, with the cost of six packs increasing by up to $2 depending on the market. Even larger brewers such as Sierra Nevada, the second largest craft brewer in the U.S., raised the price of a case by 50 to 60 cents to combat rising costs, said owner Ken Grossman.
    At Stone Brewing Co., considered one of the industry leaders in creating hoppy beers, the 15-20% price hike instituted earlier this year was the "biggest single price increase we had to take" in the company's 12-year history, said owner Greg Koch.
    Recipe Changes

    Despite the rise in hop prices, one option that was off the table for almost all brewers was cutting back on hops.
    "We don't want to cut back on the hoppier varieties because they are our best sellers," said Scott Vaccaro of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Pleasantville, N.Y. "If we have to, we change the recipes."
    For many brewmasters, this means using the hops available and altering the ingredients to recreate the taste. Mr. Vaccaro says he often tinkers with the recipe for his Imperial IPA, which uses four varieties of hops.
    "It tends to be a beer that is robust in flavor that you can play around with," he said. "Unless you drink it everyday, you are not going to notice the difference. What we have learned is what varieties we can substitute in and still keep our flavor profiles."
    In beer parlance, there are two kinds of hops: one that tones down the sweetness, known as a bittering hop, and another that is added closer to he end of the brewing process, called an aroma hop, that gives beers their distinct flavor.
    "Where it becomes more difficult is the aroma varieties that make a character unique," Mr. Vaccaro says. "You can change more with the bittering hop without a perceived change. When you start playing with the aroma hops, it is a little more noticeable."
    Mr. Vaccaro has had a surplus in hops because he overbought in the past two years. But he says he expects to change a few recipes towards the end of the year to combat the price jump he's seen in hops, from $3.50 a pound to $23 a pound.
    "It's not something you want to do, but it's something you do if it has to be done," he says.
    Adam Avery of Avery Brewery in Boulder, Colo., says he had to change plans for a new double IPA because the bitter hops he wanted were not available.
    "It just wasn't worth it," he said.
    Mr. Koch of Stone Brewing Co. limited the production of his Stone Levitation Ale, which won a Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Award last year, because the hops he uses to produce it were in short supply.
    Getty ImagesThe shortage in hops has caused prices to surge by as much as ten times.



    "We were able to produce it, but not able to introduce it into any new markets this year," he said. "Modifying our recipes wasn't really on the radar. There were some beers we just couldn't make or make more than a limited amount."
    This July was the first year Mr. Koch did not produce a hop-heavy beer for Stone Brewing Co.'s anniversary. He instead made a chocolate-oatmeal stout, which he is showcasing at this year's Great American Beer Festival.
    "It's a completely different style of beer," he said. "Instead of using the hops to give it flavor, we created a recipe using bitter chocolate."
    Growing Pains

    Despite rising prices and a shortage in hops, craft beer -- beer made by small, independent and traditional breweries -- has grown 6.5% in volume and 11% in sales in the first half of 2008, roughly the same amount as the same period last year, Mr. Gatza says. According to the Brewers Association, in 2006 and 2007, 47 of the top 50 craft brewing companies grew in production to keep up with demand. So far this year about 42 of the top 50 are growing to keep up with demand, Mr. Gatza said.
    One of the reasons for this continued growth despite the economic downturn is that craft beer is still one of cheaper luxury items people can buy, with most six packs cost less than $10, says Mr. Norgrove of Bear Republic Brewery. Bear Republic has seen business grow by more than 50% in 2006 and 2007, and is seeing healthy profits again this year, he says. "We are in one of those industries that is really doing well. I don't want to say it's recession proof, but we are seeing steady growth."
    Between March and May of this year hop growers planted an additional 8,500 acres in the U.S. and more than 11,000 world-wide to help keep up with demand -- though most of the hops planted are the bitter hops which are will not reach full maturity for three years and do less to distinguish flavor.
    At the beer festivals this fall, hop-filled beers will still be prevalent, though some may have altered recipes. But for the next harvest, brewers and experts agree that there could be less diversity in the styles of beers.
    "Things are predicted to get a little better on the hop front in the next year to two," Mr. Koch said. "There has been a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, but it's definitely not in the clear."
    THAT quarterback is NOT a Pro Bowl quarterback. Never was and never will be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guru View Post
    How about this...

    The future of beer.

    When Montana Brewing Co. won the "Small Brewpub of the Year" award at last year's Great American Beer Festival, owner Travis Zeilstra attributed much of his success to a Northwestern bitter hop called Northern Brewer, which he adds to 40% of his brews to achieve a bold flavor and clean aftertaste.
    But when his current batch of hoppy beers runs out in the next month or two, Mr. Zeilstra will be forced to alter his prized recipes. Since the beginning of this year, his cost for Northern Brewer has increased from $5 a pound to $40. Mr. Zeilstra has grudgingly paid the new price on the spot market, but the cost is too much for him to continue, and even if he could, he would not be able to get a contract for the sought-after hop until 2013, as the upcoming harvests have already been contracted out to larger brewers.



    Brewers are descending on Denver this week for the 27th annual Great American Beer Festival, the U.S.'s largest beer gathering in which nearly 2,000 brews compete. They are facing soaring costs and a shortage in hops, the plant used to give beer its bitterness, aroma and flavor. It was about this time last year that brewers first started to feel the impact of the current hop crisis -- a loss of 10,000 acres world-wide in 2007 -- caused by a bad crop from Europe, growing demand in Asia (where beer sales have increased 3% each year for the past half decade), and decades of reduced acreage in favor of real-estate development and more lucrative crops.
    Since the summer of 2007, the shortage has pushed the cost of hops from around $3-$5 a pound to $20-$40 a pound. It has forced almost all craft brewers -- small, independent and traditional breweries -- to raise retail prices. Smaller brewers, who don't typically have contracts on hops, have had to pay the higher costs, alter recipes or turn to less hoppy brews such as wheat beers, stouts and Pilsners.
    "It's been a struggle, but you have to be able to adapt," Montana Brewing Co.'s Mr. Zeilstra says. "I have a couple of other hops that I use as a substitute. Some of them will work very closely and are interchangeable, but others are not. We are just going to have to see how people react to them."
    As hops prices have risen, so has consumer demand for the bolder beer styles hops provide, such as India Pale Ales (IPAs) and seasonal drafts like Oktoberfest beers and pumpkin ales. According to market data through July, sales for IPAs and seasonal beers this year have seen the greatest increase among craft beers, 8% and 16% respectively. The largest -- and most competitive -- category at the Great American Beer Festival is the American Style IPA.
    "Consumer demand continues to go hoppier and hoppier," says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, a nonprofit group based in Boulder, Colo., that works with craft brewers and runs the Great American Beer Festival. "What we are seeing is that when [brewers] can't get the hops they want, they are coming out with different beers. Some are rationing their own beers."


    Trouble Brewing

    3:51Weather conditions and growing demand for small craft brews are causing a major shortage of hops and driving up prices. MarketWatch's Paul Lin talks to Vermont brewers about what it means for the industry.





    Rising Prices

    As the hops crisis became more apparent at the beginning of the year, Bear Republic Brewery in Northern California, whose better known brews include Red Racer IPA, Hop Rod Rye and Red Rock Ale, raised it prices almost immediately, from a $8.50 a six pack to $10.
    Owner Richard Norgrove says he got an earful from distributors who said the company would lose market share to other craft brewers: "It was met with a lot of apprehension. Sure enough, 60 days later everybody was doing the same."
    Price hikes have been almost universal, with the cost of six packs increasing by up to $2 depending on the market. Even larger brewers such as Sierra Nevada, the second largest craft brewer in the U.S., raised the price of a case by 50 to 60 cents to combat rising costs, said owner Ken Grossman.
    At Stone Brewing Co., considered one of the industry leaders in creating hoppy beers, the 15-20% price hike instituted earlier this year was the "biggest single price increase we had to take" in the company's 12-year history, said owner Greg Koch.
    Recipe Changes

    Despite the rise in hop prices, one option that was off the table for almost all brewers was cutting back on hops.
    "We don't want to cut back on the hoppier varieties because they are our best sellers," said Scott Vaccaro of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Pleasantville, N.Y. "If we have to, we change the recipes."
    For many brewmasters, this means using the hops available and altering the ingredients to recreate the taste. Mr. Vaccaro says he often tinkers with the recipe for his Imperial IPA, which uses four varieties of hops.
    "It tends to be a beer that is robust in flavor that you can play around with," he said. "Unless you drink it everyday, you are not going to notice the difference. What we have learned is what varieties we can substitute in and still keep our flavor profiles."
    In beer parlance, there are two kinds of hops: one that tones down the sweetness, known as a bittering hop, and another that is added closer to he end of the brewing process, called an aroma hop, that gives beers their distinct flavor.
    "Where it becomes more difficult is the aroma varieties that make a character unique," Mr. Vaccaro says. "You can change more with the bittering hop without a perceived change. When you start playing with the aroma hops, it is a little more noticeable."
    Mr. Vaccaro has had a surplus in hops because he overbought in the past two years. But he says he expects to change a few recipes towards the end of the year to combat the price jump he's seen in hops, from $3.50 a pound to $23 a pound.
    "It's not something you want to do, but it's something you do if it has to be done," he says.
    Adam Avery of Avery Brewery in Boulder, Colo., says he had to change plans for a new double IPA because the bitter hops he wanted were not available.
    "It just wasn't worth it," he said.
    Mr. Koch of Stone Brewing Co. limited the production of his Stone Levitation Ale, which won a Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Award last year, because the hops he uses to produce it were in short supply.
    Getty ImagesThe shortage in hops has caused prices to surge by as much as ten times.



    "We were able to produce it, but not able to introduce it into any new markets this year," he said. "Modifying our recipes wasn't really on the radar. There were some beers we just couldn't make or make more than a limited amount."
    This July was the first year Mr. Koch did not produce a hop-heavy beer for Stone Brewing Co.'s anniversary. He instead made a chocolate-oatmeal stout, which he is showcasing at this year's Great American Beer Festival.
    "It's a completely different style of beer," he said. "Instead of using the hops to give it flavor, we created a recipe using bitter chocolate."
    Growing Pains

    Despite rising prices and a shortage in hops, craft beer -- beer made by small, independent and traditional breweries -- has grown 6.5% in volume and 11% in sales in the first half of 2008, roughly the same amount as the same period last year, Mr. Gatza says. According to the Brewers Association, in 2006 and 2007, 47 of the top 50 craft brewing companies grew in production to keep up with demand. So far this year about 42 of the top 50 are growing to keep up with demand, Mr. Gatza said.
    One of the reasons for this continued growth despite the economic downturn is that craft beer is still one of cheaper luxury items people can buy, with most six packs cost less than $10, says Mr. Norgrove of Bear Republic Brewery. Bear Republic has seen business grow by more than 50% in 2006 and 2007, and is seeing healthy profits again this year, he says. "We are in one of those industries that is really doing well. I don't want to say it's recession proof, but we are seeing steady growth."
    Between March and May of this year hop growers planted an additional 8,500 acres in the U.S. and more than 11,000 world-wide to help keep up with demand -- though most of the hops planted are the bitter hops which are will not reach full maturity for three years and do less to distinguish flavor.
    At the beer festivals this fall, hop-filled beers will still be prevalent, though some may have altered recipes. But for the next harvest, brewers and experts agree that there could be less diversity in the styles of beers.
    "Things are predicted to get a little better on the hop front in the next year to two," Mr. Koch said. "There has been a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, but it's definitely not in the clear."
    This will now be Canada's favorite thread on this website.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 49ers own my heart, but the Chiefs will always hold a better than neutral spot for giving my favorite player a place to leave with grace...

    Resident Comedian/Statistician/Researcher/Diplomat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guru View Post
    How about this...

    The future of beer.

    When Montana Brewing Co. won the "Small Brewpub of the Year" award at last year's Great American Beer Festival, owner Travis Zeilstra attributed much of his success to a Northwestern bitter hop called Northern Brewer, which he adds to 40% of his brews to achieve a bold flavor and clean aftertaste.
    But when his current batch of hoppy beers runs out in the next month or two, Mr. Zeilstra will be forced to alter his prized recipes. Since the beginning of this year, his cost for Northern Brewer has increased from $5 a pound to $40. Mr. Zeilstra has grudgingly paid the new price on the spot market, but the cost is too much for him to continue, and even if he could, he would not be able to get a contract for the sought-after hop until 2013, as the upcoming harvests have already been contracted out to larger brewers.



    Brewers are descending on Denver this week for the 27th annual Great American Beer Festival, the U.S.'s largest beer gathering in which nearly 2,000 brews compete. They are facing soaring costs and a shortage in hops, the plant used to give beer its bitterness, aroma and flavor. It was about this time last year that brewers first started to feel the impact of the current hop crisis -- a loss of 10,000 acres world-wide in 2007 -- caused by a bad crop from Europe, growing demand in Asia (where beer sales have increased 3% each year for the past half decade), and decades of reduced acreage in favor of real-estate development and more lucrative crops.
    Since the summer of 2007, the shortage has pushed the cost of hops from around $3-$5 a pound to $20-$40 a pound. It has forced almost all craft brewers -- small, independent and traditional breweries -- to raise retail prices. Smaller brewers, who don't typically have contracts on hops, have had to pay the higher costs, alter recipes or turn to less hoppy brews such as wheat beers, stouts and Pilsners.
    "It's been a struggle, but you have to be able to adapt," Montana Brewing Co.'s Mr. Zeilstra says. "I have a couple of other hops that I use as a substitute. Some of them will work very closely and are interchangeable, but others are not. We are just going to have to see how people react to them."
    As hops prices have risen, so has consumer demand for the bolder beer styles hops provide, such as India Pale Ales (IPAs) and seasonal drafts like Oktoberfest beers and pumpkin ales. According to market data through July, sales for IPAs and seasonal beers this year have seen the greatest increase among craft beers, 8% and 16% respectively. The largest -- and most competitive -- category at the Great American Beer Festival is the American Style IPA.
    "Consumer demand continues to go hoppier and hoppier," says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, a nonprofit group based in Boulder, Colo., that works with craft brewers and runs the Great American Beer Festival. "What we are seeing is that when [brewers] can't get the hops they want, they are coming out with different beers. Some are rationing their own beers."


    Trouble Brewing

    3:51Weather conditions and growing demand for small craft brews are causing a major shortage of hops and driving up prices. MarketWatch's Paul Lin talks to Vermont brewers about what it means for the industry.





    Rising Prices

    As the hops crisis became more apparent at the beginning of the year, Bear Republic Brewery in Northern California, whose better known brews include Red Racer IPA, Hop Rod Rye and Red Rock Ale, raised it prices almost immediately, from a $8.50 a six pack to $10.
    Owner Richard Norgrove says he got an earful from distributors who said the company would lose market share to other craft brewers: "It was met with a lot of apprehension. Sure enough, 60 days later everybody was doing the same."
    Price hikes have been almost universal, with the cost of six packs increasing by up to $2 depending on the market. Even larger brewers such as Sierra Nevada, the second largest craft brewer in the U.S., raised the price of a case by 50 to 60 cents to combat rising costs, said owner Ken Grossman.
    At Stone Brewing Co., considered one of the industry leaders in creating hoppy beers, the 15-20% price hike instituted earlier this year was the "biggest single price increase we had to take" in the company's 12-year history, said owner Greg Koch.
    Recipe Changes

    Despite the rise in hop prices, one option that was off the table for almost all brewers was cutting back on hops.
    "We don't want to cut back on the hoppier varieties because they are our best sellers," said Scott Vaccaro of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Pleasantville, N.Y. "If we have to, we change the recipes."
    For many brewmasters, this means using the hops available and altering the ingredients to recreate the taste. Mr. Vaccaro says he often tinkers with the recipe for his Imperial IPA, which uses four varieties of hops.
    "It tends to be a beer that is robust in flavor that you can play around with," he said. "Unless you drink it everyday, you are not going to notice the difference. What we have learned is what varieties we can substitute in and still keep our flavor profiles."
    In beer parlance, there are two kinds of hops: one that tones down the sweetness, known as a bittering hop, and another that is added closer to he end of the brewing process, called an aroma hop, that gives beers their distinct flavor.
    "Where it becomes more difficult is the aroma varieties that make a character unique," Mr. Vaccaro says. "You can change more with the bittering hop without a perceived change. When you start playing with the aroma hops, it is a little more noticeable."
    Mr. Vaccaro has had a surplus in hops because he overbought in the past two years. But he says he expects to change a few recipes towards the end of the year to combat the price jump he's seen in hops, from $3.50 a pound to $23 a pound.
    "It's not something you want to do, but it's something you do if it has to be done," he says.
    Adam Avery of Avery Brewery in Boulder, Colo., says he had to change plans for a new double IPA because the bitter hops he wanted were not available.
    "It just wasn't worth it," he said.
    Mr. Koch of Stone Brewing Co. limited the production of his Stone Levitation Ale, which won a Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Award last year, because the hops he uses to produce it were in short supply.
    Getty ImagesThe shortage in hops has caused prices to surge by as much as ten times.



    "We were able to produce it, but not able to introduce it into any new markets this year," he said. "Modifying our recipes wasn't really on the radar. There were some beers we just couldn't make or make more than a limited amount."
    This July was the first year Mr. Koch did not produce a hop-heavy beer for Stone Brewing Co.'s anniversary. He instead made a chocolate-oatmeal stout, which he is showcasing at this year's Great American Beer Festival.
    "It's a completely different style of beer," he said. "Instead of using the hops to give it flavor, we created a recipe using bitter chocolate."
    Growing Pains

    Despite rising prices and a shortage in hops, craft beer -- beer made by small, independent and traditional breweries -- has grown 6.5% in volume and 11% in sales in the first half of 2008, roughly the same amount as the same period last year, Mr. Gatza says. According to the Brewers Association, in 2006 and 2007, 47 of the top 50 craft brewing companies grew in production to keep up with demand. So far this year about 42 of the top 50 are growing to keep up with demand, Mr. Gatza said.
    One of the reasons for this continued growth despite the economic downturn is that craft beer is still one of cheaper luxury items people can buy, with most six packs cost less than $10, says Mr. Norgrove of Bear Republic Brewery. Bear Republic has seen business grow by more than 50% in 2006 and 2007, and is seeing healthy profits again this year, he says. "We are in one of those industries that is really doing well. I don't want to say it's recession proof, but we are seeing steady growth."
    Between March and May of this year hop growers planted an additional 8,500 acres in the U.S. and more than 11,000 world-wide to help keep up with demand -- though most of the hops planted are the bitter hops which are will not reach full maturity for three years and do less to distinguish flavor.
    At the beer festivals this fall, hop-filled beers will still be prevalent, though some may have altered recipes. But for the next harvest, brewers and experts agree that there could be less diversity in the styles of beers.
    "Things are predicted to get a little better on the hop front in the next year to two," Mr. Koch said. "There has been a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, but it's definitely not in the clear."
    Quote Originally Posted by rbedgood View Post
    This will now be Canada's favorite thread on this website.
    THAT quarterback is NOT a Pro Bowl quarterback. Never was and never will be.

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    ^^^at this rate we're looking at about 2:00 p.m. on the 10th.
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    The 49ers own my heart, but the Chiefs will always hold a better than neutral spot for giving my favorite player a place to leave with grace...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbedgood View Post
    ^^^at this rate we're looking at about 2:00 p.m. on the 10th.
    Why can't I ever win and get that kind of arrowcash?
    THAT quarterback is NOT a Pro Bowl quarterback. Never was and never will be.

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