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Hops Shortage and the Difficulties of Staying Organic

Presenter(s): (left to right) Cassandra Clark (Globalization Studies & Sociology); Emily Pavkov (Sociology)

Advisors: Prof. Andrew Martin (Sociology) & Dr. Lindsey Chamberlain (Sociology)

Hops are the female flowers of the hops plant. They are typically used as a flavoring agent in beers. This study centers on a local Ohio brewery, Rockmill Brewery, and the current and future uses of hops in the brewing process. Given the FDA’s recent alterations to the regulations of organic labels, in order to continue marketing as organic, breweries must switch from non-organic to organic hops. This research looks at the predicted shortage of hops, exploring the varying global climates where hops can be grown, as well as the difficulties this presents throughout the beer industry. We look specifically at the implications this will have on a local organic business and options they must consider for alternative distributors. The majority of the research is based on literature review, with in-depth contributions from hops experts and brewers. This information will be given to Rockmill to allow them to explore their options. The preliminary conclusions have found a variety of different distributors available to Rockmill Brewery that will allow them to continue to market as an organic brand and to expand their business.