Hops on the vine

New England was once home to a vibrant hops trade. In 1900, a majority of the entire U.S. crop was from New England. By the end of prohibition, much of the hops industry had migrated to the Pacific Northwest, due to advances in mechanization that made large scale farming more efficient, and the Downy Mildew disease which crippled local production. With the growing number of craft brewers in New England, there has been resurgence in the demand for locally grown hops.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture collaborated to support the development of a hop yard and variety trials, twilight meetings and a research project to study the economic and logistic feasibility of commercial hop production in the region. The study showed that it is feasible to grow hops commercially and a sufficient demand from the brewing community to support a minimum of 100 acres in production. The report concludes that New England’s growing climate and condition are well suited to hop production.

Be sure to check out the 2010 feasibility study, information on variety trials, upcoming meetings as well as other resources related to hops production.