Hops and Beer

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Vermont hops. Photo: Pocket of Light Pictures, Burlington VT

Vermont has more breweries per capita than any state in the country: 1 for every 20,193 residents! It’s not just the sheer number of local brews available that put Vermont on the map—it’s their exceptional quality too. RateBeer, a social networking site for beer enthusiasts, identified Hill Farmstead Brewery of Greensboro as the number one brewer on their list of the “Best Brewers in the World 2013” out of a field of more than 12,000. Hill Farmstead’s owner and brewmaster Shaun Hill was recently featured in Vanity Fair magazine. Lawson’s Finest Liquids of Warren also made the RateBeer list at number 55. The Alchemist Brewery’s Heady Topper, a double India Pale Ale (IPA), is currently ranked the best beer in the world on BeerAdvocate. In the summer of 2012, the Boston Globe ran an article highlighting Waterbury as “The Best Beer Town in New England.”

Data from the Beer Institute indicate that craft beer production has increased over 82%, from 6.3 million barrels (195 million gallons) in 2005—equal to 3.2% of total U.S. beer production—to 13.2 million barrels (408 million gallons) in 2012, equal to 6.7% of total beer production.

Vermont’s craft beer industry is in a strong—and growing—position. There are several ways to support growth of this industry, particularly in the case of marketing, distribution, and regulation. As for hops farmers, the greatest needs are in the areas of research, equipment and technology, and marketing. Strengthening demand for Vermont beer made with locally-grown ingredients will encourage more hops farmers to get established and expand production.


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Photo: Vermont Brewers Association

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