With the agricultural market on a regular rollercoaster based on weather, the local economy and a market price that farmers fight hard to keep up with, it’s no surprise that many new craft breweries are taking to the idea of growing their own hops and barley or partnering with local farms to grow the strains they want. Although this may sound quite pricey on the front end, the back-end savings could add up quite a lot!
For example, in years when the value per bushel is high, it makes more sense to have your own hops field, even if it’s a smaller one. This helps to save on expenses and allows you to try out small amounts of new strains of hops, barley, etc. which is a great way to test out new brews in small doses! Of course, we do realize that supporting local farms is always the best way to connect with your community, this could easily be transferred to this initiative as well. For example, you can pay a local farmer for part of their field space, though you’re going to want to make sure it is a reasonable price in order to be helping them and yourself at the same time.
Many breweries have already begun to grow their own hops. You could say that their production is hopping right along because they’ve already taken the time to source strains that are perfect for their individual brews and streamlined their process to reflect that decision. Those still purchasing their hops from select outside sources have also begun to really team up with the farms they procure from by asking them to provide specific strains for their production. Either method creates a very precise variety for brewmasters to choose from and can help to save on overhead costs.
The same methods apply to barley growing, as different strains provide a different flavor overall. In order to grow the exact strains desired, craft breweries have the same two choices. Grow their own hops or partner with farms. Both are winning choices, as either, they are saving massive overhead in the long run, or they are supporting their local communities on a larger scale. In addition, breweries have the option of teaming this with sustainable farming practices by either selling or donating the spent grains back to the farm after they’ve finished with their production. What better way to create a money saving option for both sides that comes full circle?
We hope to see more craft breweries implement these measures in the coming years, as community and brew variety are two of our biggest concerns. We hope you take the time to plan a road trip this upcoming summer to check out the many craft breweries and taprooms of South Florida. While you’re in the area, check us out, as we’ll be opening up in West Palm Beach in early 2017!
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