In Nebraska, Microbreweries Create Hops Production Opportunities

Over the weekend, the editorial board at the Omaha World-Herald indicated that, “Craft breweries have been springing up dramatically across Nebraska in recent years. In 2011, 17 microbreweries were operating in the state. The current total is 48.

“Now comes a follow-up development: the rise of hops production in Nebraska. It’s a niche ag sector well worth nurturing.

“Washington, Oregon and Idaho currently provide about 90 percent of the nation’s hops, whose acids and oils give flavor and stability to beer. But microbreweries across the country are wanting to increase their locally sourced hops, and Nebraska is seeing that same pattern.”

The opinion item noted that, “Hops production in Nebraska is small at present (24 acres in 2016, with about 40 acres expected this year), but interest is building, as are the connections to the state’s craft brewery community and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“UNL ag specialists are partnering with Nebraska hops growers and craft brewers to provide information on production techniques, conduct workshops and carry out field testing on specific varieties of the crop.

“Nebraska brewers, ag producers and UNL ag specialists got together in Lincoln in January for the first annual Nebraska hops producers and brewers conference and trade show. The agenda featured introductory and advanced presentations on hops production.”

The OWH item added that, “Perhaps one day not too distant, Nebraskans will raise their beer mugs to toast the inauguration of a new Nebraska ag achievement — a Husker hop.”

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