Demand for hops continues to increase as Michigan breweries gain popularity

Learn about hop production and the role it plays in beer production at the 4th annual Northwest Michigan Hop Tour and Field Day.

Michigan, the Great Lakes State, may soon have another moniker if Michigan Brewers have their way: The Great Beer State. Thanks in large part to the Michigan Brewers Guild under the leadership of Scott Graham; Michigan is on its way becoming one of the top states in the U.S. in number of breweries. In 2011, 20-40 breweries opened in Michigan, with more on the way in 2012 which would make the state number five in the country.

The Brewers Guild has also had great success with its four annual Beer Festivals around the state. Moreover, Grand Rapids was recently awarded the title of “Beer City USA” for 2012 based upon the success and high quality craft beers made by the likes of Founders, Brewery Vivant and others. The benefits of Michigan’s likely 100+ breweries go beyond offering venues for socializing on Friday nights. The Michigan Brewers Guild estimates that Michigan's brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic activity of more than $133 million.

Farmers in the state and in Northwest Michigan in particular are supporting the growth of Michigan’s growing Microbrewery industry. Hops, a key and necessary ingredient in beer, are being grown in increasing numbers by Michigan farmers. Best estimates suggest that Michigan farmers have planted over 100 acres of hops and purchased and refurbished picking and processing equipment that represents a collective investment of over $2 million. When you add in the costs of agricultural support services like equipment and pest and disease control, Michigan’s hops industry is slowly but surely contributing significant dollars back into Michigan’s economy.

Demand for Michigan beer is increasing with great opportunity for growth. Craft beer accounts for only four percent of total beer consumption in Michigan and only two percent of craft beer consumed is made in Michigan. As more Michiganders decide to purchase Michigan beer, and in turn, support Michigan’s economy, the state will need more hi-quality hop production to keep up with the increasing demand.

If you are interested in learning about all facets of hop production we invite you to attend the 4th annual Northwest Michigan Hop Tour and Field Day on Aug. 10, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Michigan State University (MSU). With support from the Michigan Brewers Guild, Michigan Hop Alliance and Mission Table Restaurant, the participants will visit the state’s oldest commercial hopyard, MSU research trials, learn about picking and processing, enjoy lunch at Old Mission Peninsula’s Mission Table and learn about the brewery needs and the role of hops in beer production from Michigan Brewers Guild Executive Director Scott Graham. Please sign up online to attend the event.

Space is limited to the first 58 participants so please sign up soon and remember when you drink Michigan beer you are supporting brewers, farmers and the Great Beer State of Michigan.

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