The interest in growing hops is expanding across our region and includes farmers currently growing field crops, horticultural crops, and livestock. There is also growing interest in starting new breweries and providing other products for this industry. The first regional hops conference was held last March in Winston-Salem and this year the follow-up conference will be held in Richmond, Va. It is designed primarily for established and wanna-be hop growers in the Southeast, but there will be much there for established and wanna-be brewers, educators, and anyone with products and services for hop growers.
The success of the craft beer industry and interest in using locally grown ingredients has encouraged an adventuresome group of farmers in the South Atlantic region to try their hands at growing hops. Most hops in the United States are produced in the Pacific Northwest where the climate is well suited to the needs of hops plants. Growing hops under the not so ide al conditions in the South Atlantic is challenging. So this conference is designed to bring in experts from across the country to advise this young industry.
The conference will kick off on Friday with commercial hop yard and brewery tours. Saturday will be a full day conference with concurrent sessions on all aspects of growing and selling hops. We have a great line-up of speakers including Ann George, Executive Director of US Hop Growers Association; James Altwies of Gorst Valley Hops; Dan Gridley of Farm Boy Hops; Ken Hurley, beer chemist at Virginia Tech; and Lina Quesada-Ocampo, plant pathologist at NC State University. There will be panel discussions on what brewers want from local growers and buying starter hop plants. Individual presentations will include growing hops in non-traditional areas, how to build a small hop yard, growing and marketing hops on a diversified farm, harvesting hops, processing hops, downy mildew control, beer chemistry, the status of the industr y, new opportunities for hop growers, and updates from North Carolina and Virginia universities on their hops research. It will be a great opportunity to network with brewers and growers at all stages of production. There will be a trade show and lunch will be served.
We have worked hard to make this a very reasonably priced conference. If you register by February 3, you can attend both days for just $80.12! There are also opportunities for exhibitors and sponsors. So check out the detailed information on our https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-south-atlantic-hops-conference-tickets-19730934757and register today!