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Craft Beer Sales Driving Growth In Northwest Hop Industry

OPB | Dec. 31, 2013 3:36 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Growing consumer demand for craft beers helped make 2013 a good year for Northwest hop farmers. A new report from the US Department of Agriculture shows hop production in the Northwest grew by 13 percent in 2013.

A bag of hops used by Crux Fermentation Project in Bend

A bag of hops used by Crux Fermentation Project in Bend

David Nogueras / OPB

Farmers not only grew more, but they also got paid more per pound. The total value of the 2013 crop was around $250 million.  That’s up nearly 30 percent from the year before.

Larry Sidor has been buying Northwest hops for nearly four decades.  He’s the head brewer and a partner at Bend’s Crux Fermentation Project.   He says the rise of craft beer has been a boon for farmers since many of those beers require not only more hops, but varieties that are more expensive.

“Thirty-five years ago, I didn’t see sons and daughters of hop growers out in the field,” Sidor said. ” I saw them going off into other fields of study.  And it’s really gratifying today to see all the sons and daughters taking over as the next generation of hop farmers.”

Most US hops are grown in Washington, which represents nearly 80 percent of all domestic production.  

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