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How to research hops
Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus, a member of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants. Hops need vertical space because the bines may grow 25 feet or more into the air. Hops can grow in most moderate climates, but do best near the 45th parallel (Northern and Southern hemisphere).
Things to know
- Scientists began experimenting with planting hops on OSU campus grounds in Corvallis in 1893, but 78 years later it was OSU’s Dr. Alfred Haunold who made an indelible mark on the industry with the Cascade and other popular modern American hop varieties.
- Dr. Alfred Haunold released the superstar hop varieties like Cascade, Willamette, Sterling, Liberty, Mt. Hood, and Santiam while he was with the USDA/ARS in Corvallis.
- Dr. Haunold talks about this work in his "The story of hops" interview. During this interview, he talks about the different hops he worked with, adding interesting details about people's personalities and technological advances. This interview was conducted by Shaun Townsend and Tiah Edmunson-Morton in Corvallis, Oregon on November 18, 2014.
- The Hop Breeding program at OSU is still very active in developing new varieties and conducting studies on pests and disease.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Hops is based in Corvallis; their site has online Hop Genetic Resources. The USDA-ARS Hop Breeding & Genetics program in Corvallis has evaluated hop cultivars for years; their site has online Hop Cultivar Descriptions.
- The Hop Growers of America is a trade association focused on grower support through technical, scientific research; trade promotion and harmonization; educational outreach; expansion of industry and USDA statistics, and more.
- Wye College in Britain had a breeding program until 2007; after its closure, leading scientist Peter Darby and the British Hop Association established Wye Hops Ltd.
- The Hop Project is a contemporary art project from Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Birmingham, and the Black Country.
- The main hop growing region in the United States is now Washington.
- You can search for hops sources on your own:
- There are several topical articles on The Oxford Companion to Beer site, including:
In 2013, the OSU Library launched the Oregon Hops and Brewing archives. There are several hops history posts on the Brewstorian blog, including the history of hops in the US and the history of hop barns.
Recommended archival collections at OSU
Recommended reports and OSU publications
- Hops Research Reports, 1930-1995
- An Economic Study of the Hop Industry In Oregon, 1931. Oregon State Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station, Corvallis, Oregon.
- The Cost of Establishing Hop Yards In Oregon, 1935. Oregon State Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station, Corvallis, Oregon.
- The Cost and Efficiency in Producing Hops in Oregon, 1939. Oregon State Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station, Corvallis, Oregon.
Recommended journals at OSU
- The Hop Press: A Memorandum of What's Brewin': This newsletter was prepared by Hop Specialist G.R. Hoerner and issued monthly by the Oregon State College Extension Service to provide information on hops and brewing to County Extension Agents in Oregon. This informal publication provides a detailed view of hops growing and production in Oregon and the northwest for this period, as well as information about hops growing in Washington, Idaho, and California. Included are a variety of news items, such as statistics on hop acreage, the costs of production, number of growers, information about industry organizations, summaries and preliminary reports of OSU hops research, news items from newspapers and other publications in Oregon and Washington, agendas for Hop Growers Conferences, and summaries of presentations at these conferences. Learn more about the collection in the online guide.
- The Hopper (1945-1954) supported the growers, brewers, and related industries with articles about crop forecasts and yields, mechanization and technological advances, pests and diseases, research, health, and membership information. They also contain minutes and reports from various state grower's associations.
- The Oregon Hop Grower and Pacific Hop Grower (1933-1940) supported the growers, brewers, and related industries with articles about crop forecasts and yields, mechanization and technological advances, pests and diseases, research, health, and membership information. They also contain minutes and reports from various state grower's associations.
There are two books fundamental to research on the history of hops in America:
- In Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon's Willamette Valley, Dr. Peter Kopp connects 21st century beer drinkers to lands and histories forgotten in an era of industrial food production. The craft beer revolution of the late 20th century is a remarkable global history that converged in the agricultural landscapes of Oregon's Willamette Valley. The common hop, a plant native to Eurasia, arrived to the Pacific Northwest only in the 19th century, but it thrived in the region's environmental conditions. By the first half of the 20th century the Willamette Valley claimed the title “Hop Center of the World.” Hoptopia integrates an interdisciplinary history of environment, culture, economy, labor, and science through the story of the most indispensable ingredient in beer.
- In Tinged with Gold: Hop Culture in the United States, Dr. Michael A. Tomlan studies structures related to rural hop farming, examining them in specific socioeconomic and historical contexts. These structures are used as foundations for creating a national narrative of hop farming, one which explores the cultivation and harvesting of the crop. Tinged with Gold offers excellent background on the hop industry, as well as the incredible technological advances that have changed the way farms operate.
- Barth, Heinrich Joh, Christiane Klinke, and Claus Schmidt. 1994. The hop atlas: the history and geography of the cultivated plant.
- Burgess, Abraham Hale. 1964. Hops: Botany, cultivation, and utilization. New York: Interscience Publishers.
- Clinch, George. 1919. English hops: a history of cultivation and preparation for the market from the earliest times. London: McCorquodale.
- Cooler, Kathleen E. Hudson. "Hop Agriculture in Oregon: The First Century." MA, History, 1986, Portland State University.
- Dahl, Arthur L. "Growing Hops in California." Scientific American 87, no. 2263 supp (1919): 312-313.
- Darlington, James. "Hops and Hop Houses in Upstate New York." Material Culture 16, no. 1 (1984): 25-42.
- Flint, Daniel. 1900. Hop culture in California. Washington: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
- Habuki, Yoshinobu. 1984. The United States hop industry: structural analysis and forecasts.
- Hallagan, William S. "Contracting Problems and the Adoption of Regulatory Cartels." Economic Inquiry 23, no. 1 (1985): 37-56.
- Haunold, Alfred. "Hop Production, Breeding, and Variety Development in Various Countries." Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists 39, no. 1 (1981): 27-34.
- Hieronymus, Stan. For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness, and the Culture of Hops. Brewing Elements Series. Boulder, Colorado: Brewers Publications, a Division of the Brewers Association, 2012.
- Hoerner, G. R., and Frank Rabak. 1940. Production of hops. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
- Hoos S, Boles J. 1953. Marketing of hops analyzed: Influence of the control program on the hop marketing situation in California studied. Calif Agr 7(6):3-16.
- Hough, J.S., Briggs, D.E., Stevens, R., and Young, T.W. 2014. Malting and Brewing Science Hopped Wort and Beer. Springer Verlag.
- Hussey, John A. 1970. The Fort Vancouver Farm.
- Ilbery, Brian W. "The decline of hop growing in Hereford and Worcestershire." Area (1982): 203-211.
- Jordan, Jennifer (2021) "Fields of Calico — The Rise and Fall of Wisconsin’s 19th-Century Hop Industry," Good Beer Hunting.
- Kannal, Emmet. "On the Culture of Hops in the United States." American Journal of Pharmacy (1835-1907) (1871): 253.
- King, Patrick Joseph. Labor and Mechanization : The Hop Industry in Yakima Valley, 1866-1950. Washington State University, 2008.
- Krakowski, Adam. 2011. A bitter past: hop farming in nineteenth century Vermont.
- Krenzke, John R. "Change Is Brewing: The Industrialization of the London Beer-Brewing Trade, 1400-1750." PhD, History, 2014, Loyola University Chicago.
- LaDuke, John. "Hop houses in Otsego County, New York." MA, 2015, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
- Meeker, Ezra.1883. Hop culture in the United States being a practical treatise on hop growing in Washington territory, from cutting to the bale.
- Mixon, Bobby, Steven C. Turner, and Terence J. Centner. "An Empiricial Analysis of a Marketing Order Referendum for a Specialty Crop." Western Journal of Agricultural Economics (1990): 144-150.
- Neve, R. A. "Hop Production 1958–1983." Journal of the Institute of Brewing 89, no. 3 (1983): 164-69.
- Neve, R. A. 1991. Hops. London [etc.]: Chapman and Hall.
- Nelson, Herbert B. "The Vanishing Hop-Driers of the Willamette Valley." Oregon Historical Quarterly 64, no. 3 (1963): 267-271.
- Parker, William B. 1913. The red spider on hops in the Sacramento Valley of California. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology.
- Parsons, James J. "Hops in Early California Agriculture." Agricultural History 14, no. 3 (1940): 110-16.
- Pocock, D. C. D. "England's Diminished Hop-acreage." Geography 44, no. 1 (1959): 14-21.
- Reeves, Patrick A., and Christopher M. Richards. "Species Delimitation under the General Lineage Concept: An Empirical Example Using Wild North American Hops (Cannabaceae: Humulus Lupulus)." Systematic Biology 60, no. 1 (2011): 45-59.
- Rumnay, Thomas H. 1997/98. Hops cultivation in Wisconsin: A nineteenth century interlude, The Wisconsin Geographer, 13-14: 49-54.
- Scot, Reginald, 1538?-1599, and Henry Denham. A Perfite Platforme of a Hoppe Garden: And Necessarie Instructions for the Making and Mayntenaunce Thereof: With Notes and Rules for Reformation of All Abuses, Commonly Practised Therein, Very Necessarie and Expedient for All Men to Haue, Which in Any Wise Haue to Doe With Hops. Imprinted at London: By Henrie Denham, 1576.
- Sekora, Lynda. 1991. "James W. Seavey Hop Driers... Corvallis, Benton County, OR." Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record (HAER No. OR-65.)
- Stockberger, W. W. 1907. Growing and curing hops. Washington: Govt. Print. Off.
- Torrens, Robert C. 1967. The hops industry of the United Kingdom. [Washington, D.C.]: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service.
- Towner, Terri. 2016. "Everyday Farm Life in the Moxee Valley 1915-1950: Historical Ethnography," Thesis for Central Washington University.