If you were thinking about beers in the US, what would be your first thought? You might think of Portland or Seattle. You might think of Denver, Colorado. Even Maine has returned to work here. However, Michigan is also known for their hops race. The state is home to a vibrant craft beer industry, but it goes deeper than many people who brew beer in their garage. The state seems to be waiting to make a significant step forward in raising the key ingredient in this mountaineering operation even though it has never expected that they will knock down existing states without running.
The Market Growth of US Hops
Most hops are from Europe – the noble hops (the most favored and prestigious breeds) come from places that have been known for cultivation over the last few centuries. That being said, the boom in the craft brewing market in the US has given rise to the interest of "going local" for all the ingredients to make great beer. Wheat and barley are no problem, and water is definitely not an issue. The biggest problem is hops.
By the 1800s, American hops were grown in various locations across the country, though Maine and New York were best known. The ban and a terrible explosion combined to end the Northeast rule as King of the Hops. It was not until the beginning of the 21st century that U.S. hops growth began again.
The Northeast is catching up first, as the climate and soil in the area are suitable for growing hops. The Northwest is also a prime location for hops growth, given the cool, humid climate of states like Washington and Oregon. However, Michigan has taken action soon and has taken steps since then.
A Light but Growing Market
One of the main reasons hops are growing as a Michigan crop is to supply local breweries that need raw ingredients. Importing hops can be expensive, even if they come from within the US. The cost of purchasing hops grown domestically is much lower, allowing craft owners to offer a high quality beer without the label (and that is obviously a key factor). consideration for beer lovers).
Michigan currently doesn't have enough hops to grow to meet all of the state's requirements, but the industry is growing. Estimates put the required groundwater area at 400 hectares and only a small portion now produces hops (about 90 acres or more). Growth comes in some impressive ways too. For example, an important part of the land that now makes hops is actually part of a farmer's coop group called the Old Mission Hop Exchange. Empire Hops Farm is another similar group and the third is the Michigan Hop Alliance. All three groups are not only active growers and producers of hops for domestic craft production but are also active in promoting the spread of hops as a viable crop of state farmers.
The Buy Local Initiative
One of the driving forces behind the growth of the Michigan hops industry is the purchase of a local initiative. As the national economy slows, more and more states are looking for ways to help their economies whether or not the federal government does. Buying local mobility can be found in all industries but is particularly strong when it comes to shipbuilding.
As more acreage is used for growing hops, many farmers will realize the significant benefits of "traditional" crops. In fact, there is still a great demand for grains as they are still an important ingredient in beer.
If breweries use their ingredient locally, it benefits the entire state. Michigan vendors buying hops and grains from farms within the state pay a slightly higher premium for their ingredients, but the difference is more than made up for in shipping costs ( often, there is almost no shipping cost if the beers and farms. in the same local area).
Benefits of the Green
As you can imagine, reducing shipping costs is not something that only benefits the economy. As more and more companies worry about "going green" the need to reduce business & # 39; carbon footprints will grow. One of the best ways to do that is to buy local Michigan craft and craft hops on those bandwagon in disguise. While businesses can buy origin credits or derivatives from "green" suppliers, they are similar in ways that are problematic for a number of reasons.
Buying carbon credits is really just a license for companies that may not be environmentally responsible. After all, as long as they buy credits the environment is accessible everywhere. The problem is that neither the local environment nor the companies that buy the credit often cause damage to themselves. The illusion of being environmentally responsible is not enough.
The problem with ingredients coming from "green" suppliers out of state is that it is impossible to tell for sure if the suppliers are actually green. Almost anyone can hold a sticker on their product saying it is "user friendly". Even if the supplier follows the instructions of the relatively lax federal EPA, there is plenty of wiggle room within the guidelines for a product that claims to be "green".
To conclude, while Michigan is unlikely to get into the Northeast or Pacific Northwest with hops growing anytime soon, the state is making significant strides in producing this essential beer ingredient. More and more farmers are migrating as a potential replacement crop for other staples and more and more local breweries are looking to grow their ingredients locally. This trend is truly evident across the country. As the craft industry continues to grow and grow, demand for locally sourced hops and grains will grow with it. That's good news for many people.
Photo of Cervesia,