Colorado breweries are looking to expand in the wake of changing agricultural markets in the state. Colorado brewers have long been subjected to a fluctuating hops market, often dependent on importing hops from across the country, Canada, and even as far as Germany. Many brewers are frustrated at the lack of local hops and hope to reduce their carbon footprint while simultaneously creating an all-Colorado beer.
In addition to these environmental concerns, many brewers are frustrated by unpredictable prices. The lack of locally grown hops and the reliance on imports means that hops prices, and by extension beer prices, can fluctuate wildly throughout the year.
These desires, however, have been thwarted by the lack of hops farms in the state. Over the past several years, however, many brewers have opened small hops farms across the state, hoping that the growth of the local crop could help lower prices. In addition, they hope that these small farms could help lower carbon footprints and help encourage more sustainable agriculture.
The transformation of Colorado beer making helps reinforce the connection between local businesses and local agriculture. While it may be easy to forget the important role that farming plays on nearly every aspect of American life, Colorado brewers are proof positive of the significance of agriculture and the need to support local, sustainable growing.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer