HCC’s Small Business Center to offer program on growing hops March 18

By Haywood Community College | Mar 05, 2014
H & K Hop Farm’s trellis hop growing structure

The Small Business Center of Haywood Community College will offer a free program on “The Business of Growing Hops” from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, on campus in the Student Center.

This seminar will provide an overview of hops growing business and provide an excellent networking opportunity for local hops growers. Attendees will explore the seasonal processes of hop cultivation, the art of working with breweries, importance of lab testing and marketing strategies for the developing hops industry. Current and potential hops growers will discuss tools and information to optimize efforts and harvest.

Heidi Dunkelberg of H&K Hop Yard will be the presenter. Dunkelberg has been growing hops in the Beaverdam community of Canton for six years. She currently grows seven different varieties of hops and has developed a unique way of trellis hop growing and has recently incorporated a custom hop drying process that she is eager to share.

Dunkelberg has partnered with local breweries to promote the prominent use of locally grown hops in small batch production — most notably, the recent release from Frog Level Brewing, an American Pale Ale made solely from hops grown in Haywood County. Dunkelberg’s passion in hop growing and value added partnerships is infectious and she is excited to help others get started in the business of growing hops.

According to the North Carolina Hops Project at N.C. State, spurred on by the demands of a burgeoning craft brewing industry and a strong public interest in locally grown ingredients, farmers are experimenting with hops (Humulus lupulus) as an alternative income source. Over the past three years, a small community of growers across North Carolina have established hop yards and sold their product to local craft breweries and home brewers.

To preregister for this seminar or for more information, call the Small Business Center at 627 4512.