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Press Release: Statewide Hop Growers Network Established

GOAL IS TO STRENGTHEN STATE'S CREAFT BREWING SUPPLY CHAIN By: The Right Place: Tim Mroz | mrozt@rightplace.org | (616) 301.6791 and Barry County: Valerie Byrnes | valerie@mibarry.com | (269) 945.2454   Hop GardenGRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (February 21, 2014) – Regional economic development organizations The Right Place of Grand Rapids and Barry County Economic Development Alliance of Hastings announces that they, along with regional partners and statewide hop growers, have established the Michigan Hop Network, a non-profit association dedicated to improving and promoting Michigan’s developing hop-growing market. With initial support from a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, The Right Place, Barry County Economic Development Alliance and their partners have worked tirelessly for the past year to bring together Michigan’s hop growers and craft brewers with the goal of strengthening the state’s craft brewing supply chain. This week, the group’s founding members approved the association’s bylaws, elected a board of directors and officers, and filed paperwork with the State of Michigan for official non-profit status. The new membership-based network will provide a variety of services and support to its members and the Michigan hop industry, including:
  • Conducting educational programming and instruction on commercial hop growing and processing in Michigan
  • Facilitating best practice exchanges, sharing of techniques and knowledge
  • Enlisting the support of Michigan higher education institutions for research and development of hop horticulture and processing
  • Promoting and marketing the utilization of Michigan hops
  • Partnering with other organizations to advance the interest of Michigan hop growers and craft brewing
“Craft brewers have been very supportive and clear in their message to us in saying it’s all about quality and consistency of the hops,” stated Jeff Steinman, Owner, Hop Head Farms, and Board Chair, Michigan Hop Network. “As our industry continues to build in Michigan, growing and producing quality hop products will be critical to long-term success. Our goal is to ensure that Michigan growers and processors produce amazing products and establish Michigan as a destination for quality hops.” Although most of the 30,000 acres of hop farms across the nation are centered in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, Michigan hops are quickly becoming a strategic advantage for many craft brewers throughout the Midwest. According to information from the Michigan State University Extension, there were over 200 acres of commercial hops grown in Michigan in 2013, with over 100 more acres planned for 2014. To support the growing acreage in Michigan, 10 harvesting centers (called picking centers) and 8 processing operations are now established throughout the state. “If Michigan growers can provide high-quality hops and provide consistency in quantity, the sky is the limit for our industry here,” stated Rick Chapla, Vice President of Business Development, The Right Place, Inc. “The Michigan Hop Network supports this emerging industry in the state, and provides the collaboration and education needed to its members.” “The board members of the new hop growers network have very impressively assumed the leadership role to begin to define the opportunities to enhance hop growing and production throughout the state.” stated Valerie Byrnes, President of the Barry County Economic Development Alliance. Over the next several months, the new board of directors will further refine the association, establish a regular meeting schedule and approving membership applications. Parties associated with the production or distribution of hops or beer in the State of Michigan interested in membership can contact The Right Place at info@rightplace.org. # # #  About The Right Place, Inc.  The Right Place, Inc. is a regional non-profit economic development organization founded in 1985 and supported through investments from the private and public sector. Its mission is to promote economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity and technology in West Michigan by developing jobs through leading business retention, expansion and attraction efforts. For more information visit: www.rightplace.org About Barry County Economic Development Alliance  The Barry County Economic Development Alliance is guided by a 17-member Board of Directors representing multiple sectors of the Barry County community. The Economic Development Alliance is a countywide organization providing services to local governmental partners, existing businesses and budding entrepreneurs. Utilizing a progressive approach, the Barry County Economic Development Alliance will create an environment for the retention and expansion of business and industry in Barry County consistent with the preservation of the rural quality of life. For more information visit: www.mibarry.org/eda/index.htm To view the original article, please click here.
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