Dave Pasick is starting a hops yard on his family farm in Utica, N.Y. Located right in the middle of the Mohawk Valley’s former hops belt, Dave found wild hops growing around the old barn and silo on his land.
After transplanting them to a homemade trellis, he was able to successfully grow new hops last summer. His first harvest was used to make a wet hop IPA for F.X. Matt Brewing Co./Saranac.
Craft beer is booming across the country. New York itself ranks in the top three states with the fastest growing craft beer industry. It’s been called a “bright spot” in the state’s economy and the rapid growth is welcomed in many areas of upstate New York.
In 2012, the state Legislature passed the Farm Brewery Act, which includes tax incentives and other benefits to give financial relief to burgeoning breweries. The legislation requires that 20 percent of ingredients used by breweries must come from New York state farms, and that will increase eventually to 90 percent.
Dave and other farmers are hoping that by incentivizing local hops and barley production, it will create a new market for the products needed by local craft breweries.
During the first year that the Farm Brewery Act is in effect, Dave plans to expand his hop yard in hopes for not only a larger harvest this season, but to be a part of a budding economic movement in his rural hometown.
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