MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—As sugarmakers go into another season, bulk prices are holding low. But demand for syrup is at an all time high.
“Demand is very good and we’re very bullish on the future,” said John Kingston, chief executive officer of Butternut Mountain Farms in Morrisville, Vt., one of the biggest bulk syrup buyers in the U.S.
“Demand has doubled in the past ten years,” he said.
Kingston said that consumer demand for syrup was the perhaps the highest it’s ever been during the second half of 2017.
Bruce Bascom, owner of Bascom Maple Farms in Alstead, N.H. also said that demand for syrup is through the roof.
“Sales are unprecedented,” Bascom said. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen.”
Bascom said the industry is growing at a pace of 7 percent per year
Both men were featured speakers at the Addison County Sugar Makers Association annual conference in Middlebury, Vt. on Jan. 13.
While Kingston and Bascom were optimistic about future sales, they dampened sprits on the prices paid back to the producer.
Bascom said he has enough syrup in storage to last until August of this year. And Kingston said his company is not taking new syrup in.
In both the U.S. and Canada, producers made back to back record breaking crops in 2016 and 2017, putting a glut of syrup on the market despite the increase in syrup sales.
In Quebec, the Federation of Quebec Maple Producers has more than 100 million pounds of syrup in its strategic reserve warehouses throughout the province.
In Vermont, the tap count has doubled in the past ten years.
Bascom said the prices he is paying for bulk syrup is $2.10 per pound for light grades, $2.00 for the medium grades and $1.90 for dark and $1.75 and less for the very dark and commercial grades.
He said he expects those prices to drop even further if there is another big crop.
As a new season gets underway, expansion and increases in tap counts still appears to be growing. Manufacturers are booked solid with orders and technology continues to advance.
“Tubing sales are bigger this year then they were last year,” said Bascom, who is also a leading equipment dealer.