Hop Industry Grows As Beer Continues To Flow From Gem State

Jul 3, 2017

Although neighboring states like Oregon and Washington may be better known for their craft beers, the Idaho beer industry is budding. One important ingredient is grown in the Gem State: hops.

The bitter ingredient is loved among craft-beer enthusiasts, and many popular hoppy beers are made possible by harvests from the Yakima, Washington area.

But DJ Tolmie -- who has been in the Idaho hop business for a while -- says the state has a lot of potential.

“Hops don’t grow many places around the globe," says Tolmie, "and it just so happens to where they grow really well here because of our soil diversity as well as our day length, our sunlight – our warming hours.”

Tolmie is the operations manager for Mill 95, a processing plant and brewery that’s about to open in Canyon County. The plant is the first of its kind in the state, and is coming into the market at an auspicious time. According to the USDA, the number of acres where hops are grown in the Northwest is up by 6 percent this year. In terms of national production, Idaho places third, behind Washington and Oregon.

“Idaho’s always kind of been the forgotten one, if you will. So we’re here to change that notion. [We’re] here to team up with our local growers here and foster new relationships between not only us as processors and brewers but between our growers and brewers.”

The new plant is set to open this fall in Wilder.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio