LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. – All beer aficionados know that hops are one of the key ingredients for making the frothy brew. But did you know that New York State was once the country’s leading producer of hops? In the mid-1800s, 80 percent of all hops were grown in the Empire State, according to The Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly.
Now, Dutchess Hops in Lagrangeville is hoping to help revitalized the commercial hops industry in the state. It is the first commercial hop farm in the Hudson Valley. Situated in the heart of Dutchess County’s agricultural region at Eastern View Nursery on Noxon Road in Lagrangeville, its owners hope to bring back an industry that the State of New York once controlled.Their mission is to provide an organically grown quality hop to brewers throughout the state.
This Saturday, Dutchess Hops will help promote the idea of local crafting brewing with its Hudson Valley Hoptember Harvestfest, which has already sold out.The Hoptember Harvestfest is designed to celebrate local beer, food and music and provide a chance for residents to meet area brewers and hop farmers. The proceeds of the event will support the promotion of the Hudson Valley Beer Trail and Farmer’s Hop Harvester.
Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) recently toured Dutchess Hops to help promote their festival and the state’s burgeoning craft beer industry.
“Growing up I ran a small private dairy farm, grew a two-acre market garden, and was also a member of 4-H in Dutchess County,” Ball said. “Farming is close to my heart and I am very happy to see that Dutchess Hops has taken advantage of this legislation and is bringing hop farming back to the Hudson Valley. I had a wonderful time touring the farm and wish them much luck at their event this weekend.”
Carmine Istvan owns Eastern View Nursery and Dutchess Hops is managed by Farm Director Justin Riccobono. Riccobono said he believed there was a void amongst the fast-growing craft beer industry in the state, so they founded Dutchess Hops. This past spring, they planted 4,000 hop plants on four acres of land.
“We are thankful to have Senator Ball’s support on this farming and tourism initiative,” Riccobono said. “He has been very supportive and we are excited to bring a new industry to the region.”
In 2012, the state legislature passed a law designed to help grow New York’s craft beer industry. The legislation created a Farm Brewery license that will allow craft brewers to expand their operations by opening restaurants or selling new products.
Under the legislation, to receive a Farm Brewery license, the beer must be made primarily from locally grown farm products. Until the end of 2018, at least 20 percent of the hops and 20 percent of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in New York State. From Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2023, no less than 60 percent of the hops and 60 percent of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in New York. After Jan. 1, 2024, no less than 90 percent of the hops and 90 percent of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in the state. The beer manufactured under these guidelines would be designated as “New York State labeled beer.”
The legislation was modeled after the 1976 “Farm Winery Act,” which spurred the growth of wine production in this state, including the creation of 249 farm wineries and tripling the total number of wineries.
Ball has developed a Hops and Grains Advisory Council. Those who would like to join should contact Sara Ritz at SRitz@nysenate.gov or call 518-455-3111. (ARTICLE)