Colorado’s hop industry is struggling to stay afloat as small growers contend with a decline in demand for local-grown hops, changing climate and limitations on hop varieties that grow well in the state.
Colorado grows a tiny fraction of the total hops grown in the U.S. with only about 150 acres in production. But hopes were high on hops not long ago when AC Golden Brewing (a MillerCoors subsidiary) debuted Colorado Native amber lager, brewed with 99% local ingredients. But the brewer didn’t have enough hops grown in Colorado to meet that claim so they encouraged small small farmers across the state to plant hops. Today, with demand waning from MillerCoors, the state’s hop growers are looking to craft brewers to step up and buy local.
“We have some orders for the 2021 crop, yes, but not a ton. It’s a small percentage of what our total yield will be,” Chris Gehlhausen of Billy Goat Hop Farm told the Denver Post.
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