Hop Growing in Oregon... 

The hop is native to North America, but cultivation did not begin until the British and Dutch settlers first arrived in the United States, bringing with them the knowledge of brewing beer and the first hop roots in 1622. Hop production quickly spread throughout the East Coast. But, as the population started to move west, hop production moved west as well, until finding a perfect home in the Pacific Northwest. Hop production in the state of Oregon began in the early 1870's and led the nation as the largest hop producing state in 1932.

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Oregon is the second largest hop producing state in the United States. The growing area is exclusively located in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Both the appearance and climate of the Oregon hop growing region is similar to that of Germany's, and both are located on the 45th parallel. The valley lies between the Coast Range and Cascade Mountains and is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. Annual production includes more than 250 different commodities annually. The valley's rich soil, mild climate, and abundant rainfall provide ideal conditions for commercial hop production. The moderate temperatures experienced during the growing season are particularly favorable for growing high quality aroma-type hops. Several alpha-type varieties also favor the Oregon climate and consistently yield higher than average alpha acid yields. Two popular varieties, Nugget and Willamette, comprise seventy-six percent of the total Oregon hop acreage where numerous other varieties are grown.

A majority of Oregon hop growers are third or fourth generation growers with an average farm size of 200 acres. The diversified farming operations produce several other crops in addition to hops, including grass seed, nursery stock, hazelnuts, row crops, and fruit. The growing region is extremely concentrated, experiencing little difference in growing conditions between the northern and southern most growers, and likewise for the eastern and western most growers.

Oregon growers take great pride in producing a quality product for today's brewmasters. Oregon's success in growing aroma hops has made its production an important part of the domestic market. Nevertheless, many hops produced in the "Beaver State" are exported, with both alpha and aroma hops finding their way into brew kettles throughout the world.