Virginia turning to hops as potential cash crop

By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM

AP Business Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia farmers are turning to an important ingredient in brewing beer as a potential cash crop.

Over the past few years, more than a dozen states including Virginia have added hops to their list of crops. The move mirrors the growing demand and interest in craft beer, as well as the use of local ingredients.

Hops have been growing in Virginia since the 1700s but are now most notably grown in the Pacific Northwest. Thomas Jefferson grew hops at Monticello and bought large quantities from others, including slaves.

Industry figures show only 25 acres of hops being grown in Virginia this year, compared with more than 29,000 acres in Washington state.

While Virginia’s hop production remains small, officials say growing the cone-shaped bittering flower represents a lucrative opportunity for farmers.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.