The BA is a non-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent craft brewers in the US. It recently ramped up lobbying efforts for more hops and barley research and made it a top priority this spring when they co-hosted a hill climb for “hop farmers, hop suppliers and brewers specifically to focus on these issues,” the company said in a press release.
In October 2017 the BA announced a partnership with the USDA-ARS to fund public hop breeding. The purpose for this program is “developing and releasing disease resistant aroma hop cultivars into the public domain, in support of hop growing efforts throughout the U.S,” according to the BA.
“In the long-term, this important program will fuel efforts of existing legacy growers as well as nascent hop growing industries throughout the U.S. The program will also fulfill an essential stewardship strategy by providing foundational germplasm for public and private breeding programs,” said Chris Swersey, supply chain specialist for the Brewers Association, at the time of the breeding program announcement.
The new funding for USDA-ARS should “directly enhance the likelihood of success” for the breeding program.
Two current researchers will be able to focus all of their time on public hop research as a result of the funding, and the program will also make necessary equipment improvements. The ARS hop research scientists team includes a breeder/geneticist and a pathologist, both world leaders in their field.
The landmark research will be located at the Irrigated Agriculture Research & Extension Center operated by Washington State University (WSU-IAREC) in Prosser, Washington.
According to the BA, this will positively impact the entire hop industry, including “growers, dealers and the brewers who depend on a diverse and healthy supply of hop crops.”