HVG Germany: Hopfen


 1954-1959
Despite the few points of contact: After the DHVG crash there was great mistrust among the hop-growers towards everything cooperative. Therefore, at the beginning the membership in the HVG Hallertau developed extremely cautiously, only a few hundred hop-growers joined. So the members of the board had to complete a marathon of informative meetings all over the Hallertau finally in order to report a membership of 4,366 for the 1954 crop - which at that time was 57 percent of all the Hallertau hop-growers.
In retrospect this first hop crop in the history of the cooperative left a somewhat ambiguous impression. The HVG received 28.1 %, actually about 58,500 centners of the crop. Unfortunately only about 50 % of these hops could be sold at the predetermined price level, the remainder left the store at considerably lower prices. On the other hand the justified question was raised whether these prices would have been even far worse without the efforts of the HVG. Conclusion: "The HVG Hallertau had solved an economic task with business methods but at the expense of their prestige".
Obviously, at the beginning the hop-growers though were not easily convinced about such a differential view of the matter. A resolution in 1955 wanted to bind each member of the HVG to relinquish 10 % of his hop production to the cooperative - which neither took place in practice nor was force exerted by those responsible at the HVG. So in the same year the HVG Hallertau received only about 2,800 centners of hops which meant that their chances to regulate the market happenings were bound to be fairly modest. In the crop year 1957 with its proliferating price development - for a short time up to 1,200 deutschmarks or more were being paid per centner - the HVG then deliberately steered clear of the general speculative frenzy. The reason was not only that the hop-growers were earning enough even without the cooperative and preferred to sell the hops independently. The HVG also saw their policy of regulating the market also in setting upward limits for all too wild profiteering. Fancy prices as in these years only resulted in the "boom hop-growing" - with the well-known consequences for the following crop years.
As if by order, the next year the initially good prices continually dropped during the course of the marketing period and ultimately landed far below the level of the farm advance credit which the HVG had already granted its members. There was no alternative but to make reimbursement demands on the members, here the sentiments of the hop-growers need not be recorded any further. Although the price level In the following year was very poor the hop-growers only supplied the HVG with 6,000 centners of hops for processing.
At the same time however the year 1958 also brought a very positive result for the HVG. In Mainburg the erection of a hop hall equipped with state-of-the-art technology reached completion and so the area of an existing hall built in 1954 was considerably extended. The festive inauguration was held on 30th October. Thus the cooperative signalised right from the beginning how important the criterion of quality control and maintenance were for the hops it marketed.