New hops breeding program will develop NY varieties

Local News

CORNELL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In Tompkins County, a new program aims to grow a key ingredient to boost the craft brewing industry.

Thanks to a $300,000 investment from the state, Cornell AgriTech is brewing up a new program to create New York hops.

“There are hops grown in New York, however, and this is the really big however, they were not hops that were bred for New York conditions,” said Jan Nyrop, Director of Cornell AgriTech.

Nyrop says scientists are working to develop a New York hop that consumers and brewers want, performs well in the state’s climate conditions, and is resistant to plant diseases.

“New York was the biggest hops producer in the U.S. up until the early 1900s, and a combination of prohibition and these plant diseases changed that.”

Jan Nyrop

In order for a brewery to have a farm brewery state license, 60 percent of its hops must be grown in the state.

Creating a NY hop that’s disease resistant would be huge. Giving brewers more local options would be even sweeter.

“Brewers want to be able to say, ‘ok here’s something special from New York’ because that’s what really makes a craft beverage successful with a consumer,” Nyrop said.

This project is in its early stages. Nyrop believes it could likely take five to seven years to develop a variety in New York, but his glass is half full.

This is a, I think a further example of the broader opportunities that New York has to expand our agricultural production.

Jan Nyrop

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