The Northwest is home of the hops. We love a good craft IPA. Washington also produces three quarters of the US crop of this key beer bittering agent. Hops are big business, but this year the crop may be too big to market.
Isaac Kaplan-Woolner spoke with Washington Hop Commission Administrator Ann George, who said beer sales are down this year so brewers are buying less. That is coupled with a larger than normal crop planted in response to the 2007 hop shortage. Some farmers told The Tri-Cities Herald they're leaving part of their crop on the vine because the September harvest has already filled contracts with buyers.
Hops are one of several crops being studied at Washington State University under a $15 million USDA specialty crop research grant.