Although the demand for locally grown hops has risen alongside the craft beer industry's boom, there still aren't many places for hops to be harvested and processed in Central New York. That's why one Madison County farm has set out to fill that void, and, as Elizabeth Jeneault reports, help better connect farmers with breweries.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- With the recent arrival of a massive hops harvester, The Bineyard in Madison County is on its way to being able to meet a growing need.
"There's a huge demand for local hops, in fact, we're not even coming close to meeting what it is now," said Chad Meigs, co-owner of The Bineyard. "More breweries are opening up with the passing of the farm brewery legislation. There are a ton of small microbreweries popping up."
The Bineyard's new harvester will be able to quickly strip hops from the bines they grow on.
"It takes a human one hour to process one bine, so the machine will process 140 in that time," said Chad Meigs.
The idea is to have farmers bring their hops to the center in order to be stripped, dryed and palletized. Then, The Bineyard will help sell the product to local breweries.
Big names like Empire Brewing Company are already on board.
"Empire is definitely interested in both processing their future hops here and also buying from the other local farmers who will also be processing their hops through The Bineyard," said Kate Meigs, co-owner of The Bineyard.
But before those exchanges can begin, there's still a lot more work left to do. A drying room needs to be built and the harvester reworked.
"It's a little overwhelming, I got to tell you," said Chad Meigs. "Just learning this machine is going to take a lot, putting it back together is going to take a lot. But, we are very excited."
Excitement building for harvest season, when hops will begin to be processed at The Bineyard and may just end up in your beer.