The number of organic hop acres is rising, ahead of a new rule that removes hops from a national list of non-organic ingredients that can be used in organic products.
The rule change, which was requested by the American Organic Hop Growers Association, means that beginning Jan. 1, organic beer brewers have to use organic hops.
"That triggered quite a bit of market activity and organic hop acreage has increased significantly since then," said AOHGA President Pat Leavy, who grows organic hops in Aurora, Ore. "We were not going to have a healthy organic hop market without that change."
Leavy estimates that about 10 percent of the nation's hop growers are producing at least some organic hops. While it's difficult to track total acres, interest is certainly up, he said.
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