By Matt Reese
Next month more than 75 Ohio hop growers will gather for the 2019 Ohio Hops Conference and Trade Show in Columbus. The Jan. 9 and 10 event is a sign that, as Ohio’s craft beer production has boomed in recent years, agriculture is starting to follow to meet the exploding demand for one of the key ingredients for brewing beer.
Members of the Ohio Hops Growers Guild (OHGG) have more than 70,000 hop plants under cultivation and many craft beer brewers and drinkers put a premium on Ohio-grown ingredients. Ohio’s climate, however, does make hop production challenging.
A century ago, Ohio was home to very robust hop production to match the state’s substantial brewing industry. In subsequent years, though, Ohio’s insect and disease issues pushed the nation’s hop production to the drier climates in the Pacific Northwest. But with the recent brewery boom, many farms are again taking a look at Ohio hop production.