Derrick Michael said:
Breweries should look towards local growers to provide a higher quality product. Theyíll get better customer service, and actually be able to speak with the person who is growing one of their main ingredients. Local producers put more time and effort into monitoring their crops to ensure quality is first and foremost. While the convenience of buying commercial hops is appealing, there are certain things that anyone actually looking into this topic should research prior to making a decision to go local or stay with the commercial company. While some local growers may have presented an inferior product in the past, we now have to work harder to dispel some of the ideas that breweries currently have.

Iíd like to respond to this article with some additional information:

We at Central Penn Hops are actually building our own oast, or hop dryer. It will dry hops at a lower temperature than what commercial oasts use to keep certain oils from evaporating during the drying process.

We currently hand pick all hops to ensure quality. Many commercial growers have a 20% leaf tolerance. When they pelletize the hop, you donít know what they actually put into the pellet. Next year we will be purchasing a hop picker from New York, but will continue to ensure that only the hop is making its way to the brewery.

All pelletizing will be done by a company out of New York that has higher quality machinery to ensure the hops arenít exposed to higher temperatures during pelletizing, which can burn off certain oils in the hops, as stated earlier. It also uses nitrogen flushing to ensure there is no oxygen left when being packaged.

Quality is our number one concern, because we understand what can happen if we put out an inferior product. It only takes one person presenting an underdeveloped hop that wasnít tested for acids, or perfect hops but presented in the wrong package, such as in a garbage bag, to give breweries a bitter taste in their mouths; pun intended.

I think this article had good intentions of showing that local hop growers have an uphill battle in the industry, but came off as local hops canít compete with commercial hopyards. I personally think that many breweries want to give the local hop growers a chance. If anyone is reading this who was presented a local hop that wasnít better than a commercially grown hop, or heard stories about local hops not being as good of quality as commercial hops, I ask them to contact us. CentralPennHops@gmail.com, or find us on facebook.
-Derrick Michael