By Brad Bergefurd
Ohio hops growers experienced continued strong market demand in 2017 for locally grown hops, with many reporting being sold out before the end of 2017, and the demand is not likely to decline soon with almost 300 breweries operating (or soon to be) in Ohio.
The Ohio State University South Centers, in cooperation with the Ohio Hop Growers Guild for the fifth year in a row, held another sold-out Ohio Hops Conference and Trade Show at the OSU South Centers at Piketon on March 23 and 24. The goal of the event was to help new and experienced growers learn the newest hop production techniques, and network with over 200 hop growers in attendance, as well as 20 hop industry vendors and exhibitors, who showcased the latest in hop technology and innovations.
This year’s Conference included an Ohio brewers panel, whose members either currently are, or are interested in, purchasing Ohio-grown hops. These brewers included A Butcher and a Brewer from Cleveland and the Portsmouth Brewing Company from Portsmouth. The panel included a tasting of Ohio beers brewed with state-grown ingredients.
For the first time, we incorporated a bus tour to southern Ohio hop farms, which included the only certified organic hop farm in Ohio and a tour of a newly constructed and operating hop processing, drying, pelletizing, and packaging operation in Georgetown. Attendees were able to tour the hop fields of these growers and gain knowledge from them on various techniques for growing this specialty crop.
The event also featured hop experts with Ohio State University Extension, OARDC and OSU South Centers, University of Kentucky, Michigan, and other agriculture industry professionals. Attendees also participated in hands-on field training and activities in the hop yards at the South Centers. These trainings included drip irrigation design, trellis construction, mobile drying, mechanical harvesting, and fertigation techniques.
For more information on the Ohio Hops program and the 2019 Ohio Hop Conference, contact Brad Bergefurd at 740-289-2071, ext.136 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Charissa Gardner at 740-289-2071, ext. 132 email@example.com.