Strong Hops Harvest Benefits Farmers, Breweries

Hops farmers across Northern Michigan are reaping the benefits of a strong growing season.

Local hops farmers are wrapping up what they’re calling one of their best growing seasons, and that’s also helping local breweries.

Hops farmer Bill Heitman says as the hops harvest winds down, he’s pleased with this year’s crop.

“It was a good year. We had enough rain that we didn’t have to do too much irrigation and it was moderate, they like warm weather not hot weather,” said Heitman

Other farmers like Joel Mulder say that good summer weather played a crucial role in this year’s harvest.

“You get good years and bad years every now and then you get the soil or the moisture levels or whatever kick in and you get a really great year,” said Mulder.

Now they’re focused on keeping their crop local,

“The local aspect for me, the relationship the small community of brewers, which is so strong and hop farmers are welcomed into that community, and it’s been a really great culture to develop here in Michigan that craft brewing culture,” said Mulder.

And area breweries like Shorts Brewing Company say it’s important for them to work closely with local hops farmers.

 “Local ingredients are the best. They taste better they’re from right around the corner so they taste fresh and it’s really nice to support the local market and buy a product one we enjoy and two makes a very good beer,” said Tyler Glaze of Shorts Brewing Company.  

 Farmers also told us this strong growing season could mean expanding farms and even bigger crops in years to come.