CT farmers growing hops - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT farmers growing hops

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Eyewitness News learned more about hops after visiting Pioneer Hops of Connecticut in Morris. (WFSB) Eyewitness News learned more about hops after visiting Pioneer Hops of Connecticut in Morris. (WFSB)

Business is hopping for a Connecticut farmer, who's cultivating an unconventional crop.

Eyewitness News headed to Morris where Connecticut beer is being born.

Doug Weber is the "grower-in-chief" at Pioneer Hops of Connecticut in Morris. He turned this patch of land into a hot-bed of hops back in April.  

"I'd been researching hops farming for about six-months before that,” Weber said. “And 'researching' by drinking beer long before that? Yea, of course!"

Weber is growing hops that he hopes to sell to brewers in the state, thanks to a booming beer business.

In fact, the Brewers Association said craft beer sales were up nationally almost 18% last year and have grown to a more than $19 billion market. 

"There's probably about three-dozen brewers in the state and I've probably talked to a dozen of them,” Weber said. “And every one of them has expressed an interest in using a local ingredient 'if' I can produce it to their quality standards."

Weber planted 5,000 hops and hopes to win over brewers such as Michael McManus from Powder Hollow Brewery in Hazardville section of Enfield.

"Every hop has a distinct flavor and just like tobacco,” McManus said. “Some are grown better in other states and Connecticut has the right climate for certain hops that we use."

Powder Hollow has all kinds of hand-crafted micro brews that draw big crowds. Local hops can add to the hype.

"So it's always nice when you get to work with a local one because you get to work with the guys in your own state and get those unique flavors that come out of your territories,” McManus said.

For more information on Pioneer Hops of Connecticut, click here.

To learn more about Powder Hollow, click here.

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