It was standing room only for the afternoon spring workshop of the Ontario Hop Growers’ Association Sat., March 19, 2016 in Whitby, Ontario.
If attendance at the event, and attendance at a similar event in Smiths Falls Ontario two days later is any indication, interest in hops production in Ontario is at a tipping point.
About 125 attendees at this event got to hear from keynote speaker, Brian Tennis (Mr Hops himself), Michigan Hop Alliance, where production is expected to exceed 1,000+ acres in Michigan this year, an indication that production in the North American – North East, is on track for a huge revival in 2016.
For the first time every, Michigan is now the 4th largest hops growing region in North America, the largest state outside the traditional growing regions in the Pacific North West of Washington and Oregon states.
Attendees of the workshop got to hear from Tennis (Michigan Hop Alliance), Nicholas Schaut (Bighead Hops) – Post Harvest Production, and a myth busting session by Laurie-Thatcher Craig (Clear Valley Hops), leaders in the NE hop revival in this part of North America. If you are thinking about growing hops in a clay soil – think again.
Attendees also got a dose of reality and market update from Evan Elford, OMAFRA New Crop Development, and Melanie Filotas, IMP Specialist. With unprecedented interest from growers in getting into hops, Elford urged a voice of caution, despite a 25 M plus import of hops by Canadian brewers in 2015.
Some sobering thoughts… with Ontario Craft Brewers expected production estimates of 288,508 HL in 2016, estimated hop production to meet ALL of the OCB domestic needs at current yields – 128-320 acres. Total import replacement (unrealistic) to Ontario requires about 1,500+ acres at commercial density, yields.
Ontario is currently at 60-100 acres. That of course does not take into account brewers outside OCB, and marketing opportunities with mainstream breweries, or export opportunities outside of Ontario.
Plus growers here have to worry about growing condition issues like late spring frost (2014-15), fusarium canker, downy and powdery mildew, with limited access to approved products to combat pest and diseases for hops in Ontario. For the most current 32016 list, go here:
From a business perspective, OHGA is continuing to grow. The board unveiled its strategic and operations plan for 2016 and announced a couple of spring informational workshops.
OHGA is pleased to announce its 2016-17 board of directors.
- President: Hugh Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Vice President: Albert Witteveen <email@example.com>
- Secretary/Treasurer: Fred Thomson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Director: Don Wilford <email@example.com>
- Director: Michael Duggan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Director: Lynn McIntyre <email@example.com>
Workshop attendees will receive a digital copy of all workshop materials, plus members can also download a digital copy of all workshop materials, plus results of the 2015 brewers and growers survey, results of the Ontario benchmark project, and Ontario commercialization project (good for biz plan development) from the “private members” area of our website.
For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More pictures from the event.