CALS Extension Associate, Scott King, talks with the Research Triangle's Independent Weekly about variety trials designed to identify hops for NC's terroir.
Hops usually thrive in cooler, higher latitudes. But a burgeoning state beer industry -- composed of large (Sierra Nevada, New Belgium) and local craft breweries -- coupled with "Eat Local" trends -- means potential demand for a home-grown product.
Most breweries use pelletized hops, rather than the highly perishable fresh product, called "green hops," which must be used within hours of harvest. But even given the challenge of developing local pelletizing capacity, "North Carolina brewers, growers, researchers and beer drinkers agree that with the right hops variety and the right investments, hops could be a robust niche industry in this region and in the mountains, where there are fledgling hops farms."
There are over 58 craft breweries in North Carolina and more than 30 farmers across the state are now growing hops for this new industry.
CALS research on hops vareities for our climate could be a first step in growing a new local, viable, industry.
Read more about our hops trials here, at the site for our NC Hops Project -- varieties, photos, cultivation, researchers:
Story on July 2012 Hops Field Day:
View Jeanine Davis' presentation from the recent Hops Yard Tour here:
Find more links on the NC Specialty Crops page, here:
And another story about our research, here:
Hopping into a new crop: NC State scientists search for better ways to grow and market a beer ingredient