ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – On land that used to be home to dairy cows, there is a new site that is another symbol of a booming local industry.
Hops are hopping out of the ground in Abbotsford.
They are a key ingredient in beer, and a shortage of some hop varieties in Europe is another good reason to grow your own near home.
Decades ago, hops used to grow in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. They were ripped up, as back then, the craft beer explosion wasn’t even a dream.
With increasing local demand and variables of the world market, the B.C. Hop Company is now expanding.
Growing them is one thing, but hops also have to be processed, which means a state-of-the-art facility is being built near the fields.
Manager Dwayne Stewart says, “There is lot of talk about the European crop being down 20 per cent last year, but the real shortage comes from demand. There is such rise in demand from craft beer.”
Central City Brewing in Surrey uses lots of hops, because many people enjoy “hoppy” beer.
While most of its supply comes from the U.S. and some from Europe, Central City Brewing is one of the province’s major hop buyers.
Brewmaster Gary Lohin is a supporter of buying local. “I am going to contract with them I think about five to 10 acres for one variety called centennial, but even then, that will only fulfill 25 per cent of what I will need in a year.”
He feels we should be expanding hop production in the South Okanagan, which is more known for wine.