Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference coming to Grand Rapids in April

Learn more about growing hops and barley in Michigan.

In response to the growing demand for Michigan grown ingredients for the craft beer industry, educators from Michigan State University Extension, with support from Michigan State University AgBioResearch, the Michigan Brewers Guild and ISLAND are hosting the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference April 10-11, 2015. The Conference will be held at the Eberhard Center on the Grand Valley State University Campus in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Three conference tracks will be offered, including beginning hop management, advanced hop management, and malting barley production and malthouse opportunities. Friday’s program will offer a wide range of presentations from speakers across the country focusing on growing and strengthening the vibrant craft ingredient industry in the state. Featured speakers include Lester Jones, Chief Economist for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, and Dr. Bart Watson, Chief Economist from the Brewers Association. Other noteworthy speakers include Derek Prell (Malteurop), Dr. David Gent (USDA-ARS), Sara Del Moro (John I. Haas, Inc.) and Zac German (Yakima Chief-Hop Union). Experts from Michigan State University will also be on hand to discuss best management practices for hop and malting barley production.

Friday’s program will conclude with a “Brewers Cut Analysis Demo and Meet the Buyer” event hosted by the Michigan Brewers Guild at the Fifth Third Ballpark on the opening weekend of the Grand Rapids Whitecaps. This will be an excellent opportunity for current hop and malting barley growers and processors to meet brewers and find out what they are looking for. This event requires preregistration and is limited to growers with acreage in production (or going into production in 2015) and active brewers. Come and enjoy the game, great beer, networking and food!

On Saturday, the malting barley track will tour Pilot Malt House, Michigan’s largest craft malthouse, and learn more about the science of malting and the quality analysis that goes into ensuring a quality product. The program will end at noon with lunch. The two hop tracks will come together to learn about post-harvest quality control and hear from a panel of brewers on how the hop industry in Michigan can meet the current demand. An optional hop yard tour and lunch at the Hopyards of Kent is available Saturday afternoon. Pre-registration is required for that event.

To learn more about the conference and to register, visit: Sponsorship opportunities are also available and can be accessed at the registration site. Any questions can be directed to the conference planning committee:

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