Well....I am officially a hop farmer

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Orangevango

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
596
Reaction score
5
Out of curiosity, why sunbeam? Ive never heard of them being used in beer.
 
OP
NTOLERANCE

NTOLERANCE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Messages
435
Reaction score
6
Location
Made Milwaukee Famous
I'm Dan from Gorst Valley Hops, the second grower mentioned in the article in this month's BYO. I've got to jump in here and offer some advice for NTOLERANCE to save you a lot of headache.

1. If you are going to use the metal poles, make sure you put a good coating on them to prevent rust. A simple can of outdoor furniture Rustoleum will not do it. For at least the part that goes in the ground, look into 2 part enamel products that mix together before application or ceramic based paint. You want something that will give you a hard shell. (You can find these under industrial paints at rustoleum ,Sherwin Williams, etc. They have technical specialists you can call to point you in the right direction.)

2. Start getting those poles in now. We threw in a 1.5 acre field last year and it took all summer to get the hardware up, irrigation in place, etc. If you can get that in now, you are in much better shape.

On that topic, its probably too late at this point but we usually recommend people start with an acre because of all the work. But you sound committed to 3 at this point.

3. Have a harvesting plan in place. You have a window of about 4 days from when the cones are ready until you have to pick. Figure about 1/2 hour to an hour per plant for manual picking (by an adult). So about 10 people/day/acre if they are serious. Many more if they are volunteers.

4. Yes, you can spread out the harvest time by picking different varieties and other methods but don't plan any vacations in August...you will be busy. (A word of warning for those thinking of this, the harvest always falls on the same weekend as your favorite beer festival.)

5. Drying and processing ARE NOT SIMPLE. Trust me on this one. I spent the entire months of August, September and October answering drying questions from growers all over. Heat dries things out quickly, but kills your quality, evaporates your oils and shortens your shelf life. Not drying them sufficiently results in a product that will go bad within hours. I was amazed at how many ways people managed to screw it up.

To answer someone's previous question, if you wanted an oast to dry 1,000 lbs (dry weight), which is about 1/2 acre or more production, that would take about 900 cubic feet of space. If the bed were 18" deep, that would be a space around 20' x 30'

Processing is another story on top of that. Many brewers are being accommodating and taking whole hops and even wet hops, but that won't last when production ramps up. You are going to need to pelletize if for both ease of use and storage volume. A suitable pellet mill runs $40K or more...and then you find out you have to replace many of the parts with stainless steel so it is considered food grade. So add another 3 to 5k.

6. I think when you add everything up, $4/lb is shooting a bit low. You can't and shouldn't be competing with the big boys in the Pacific Northwest on price. I"m not sure where you are located, but if you can deliver a HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT, brewers will usually pay much more than market value. If we were selling for $4/lb, we would be out of business by now. The key is keeping quality up which means good growing practices, proper drying, harvesting, packaging, testing/analysis and storage.

I've heard others talk about focusing on the homebrewing market because of the higher premium. Yes, homebrewers pay a premium but its a market that is harder to reach, has smaller demand and (as has been pointed out) is much harder to package for. Frankly, you quickly tire of measuring out 1 oz, 2oz, 5 oz, etc. pacakges and individually sealing them. It is so much quicker to weigh out 44 pounds, dump it in a bag and seal away. With 3 acres, you could have as much as 6,000 lbs of hops in a few years. Even if you find avid homebrewers that consume 5 lbs/year...that's 1,200 homebrewers. And that assumes you have exactly what they want. I can't even keep my dad happy with 8 varieties.

7. Finally, get you rhizome orders in now. If you wait until Feb to put in orders of 100 or more, you will probably be out of luck.

Good luck.
All good info Dan. Many of the items youve touched on I have thought about, but its great to hear from an experienced grower. I doubt I will get the entire field up and planted with hops the first year. I dont think I can buy enough hops. Small steps so to speak. What doesnt have hops will have other crops
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
Yeah, $350 will get you anywhere from 100 to 400 rhizomes, which isn't a full acre. If you find prices cheaper than $1 per rhizome, be wary. We've been burned on those. There's a reason they are so cheap.
 
OP
NTOLERANCE

NTOLERANCE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Messages
435
Reaction score
6
Location
Made Milwaukee Famous
Yeah, $350 will get you anywhere from 100 to 400 rhizomes, which isn't a full acre. If you find prices cheaper than $1 per rhizome, be wary. We've been burned on those. There's a reason they are so cheap.
At first I wasnt sure I wanted rhizomes. Jungs Seeds near me sells plants....cadcade, nugget, willamette and one more... I forget, goldings maybe? I talked to them about a 50 plant buy, and they seemed willing to deal on the price ($8.95 retail)..but even at $5.00 a plant, they are still $2.00 more than a rhizome. If I can get a cold frame up, I will definetly buy the rhizomes.
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
Forgive me, I'm the engineer in our group. I'm not a botanist/horticulturalist/plant guy. But I take it a cold frame is some sort of green house? Are you trying to get the plant started early? I have to ask why.

I'm assuming you're in Wisconsin or at least the upper midwest. If you put rhizomes in the ground in the early spring, there will be plenty of time to develop a decent root system before the fall. Heck, some varieties (like cascade), will even give you a decent harvest. I doubt that starting with small plants will get you that much of a head start. (But then again, I'm not the guy with the green thumb...just the guy behind the tiller.)

If you buy good rhizomes, when they arrive they will all ready have a couple of little buds sprouting out. Once they warm up, Bam! they will be off to the races.

It just seems to me that at $5, you get about 70 plants. That's not even an 1/8 acre. And trust me, if you put in orders now for bulk orders of rhizomes, you can do better than $3/rhizome. PM me if you need help finding them.

As Pol said, my intention isn't to sound mean. I'm honestly just trying to help. We've put on a number of full day workshops on hops growing with attendance from 75 to 150 people. When they walk out, 90% are absolutely convinced that this is not for them. Of the remaining 10% that are interested, usually 1 or 2 finally move forward to put rhizomes in the ground.

There's a lot of research to do. If you don't plan for all these things you find yourself standing in a field wondering where you can find more water for irrigation, sleeping all night next to your oast praying for dry weather, kicking your pelletizer because you didn't factor in how sticky the oils are...oh yeah, and trying to convince your SWMBO that "NEXT year, I"ll bring home a paycheck. We just needed to pick up a slightly larger pelletizer this year."

Oh...and my current favorite, try explaining it to your home owner's association why you have constructed a 12 foot tall tube that inadvertently blew about 100 pounds of hops all over three neighbor's freshly raked lawns. Obviously they were not home brewers because they all complained.
 

Andrea

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
98
Reaction score
7
Location
Montrose
At first I wasnt sure I wanted rhizomes. Jungs Seeds near me sells plants....cadcade, nugget, willamette and one more... I forget, goldings maybe? I talked to them about a 50 plant buy, and they seemed willing to deal on the price ($8.95 retail)..but even at $5.00 a plant, they are still $2.00 more than a rhizome. If I can get a cold frame up, I will definetly buy the rhizomes.
You don't want seeds because they are several years behind in production. You also don't want to buy plants from a nursery. They propogate from the bines and while this is a quick way to get alot of plants-- these prop plants are also a couple years behind from producing.

Buying seeds is like buying a baby and bine propogated plants is like buying children. You want breeding adult females-- rhizomes ready to go.

Best of all-- buy from a farmer who can tell you how well the hops do in your area. Sunbeam and saaz out here in Colorado barely cleared the soil before they died in a light frost. Cascade and Chinook are blooming giants. Eh so so on Willamette and Mt Hood. Work out the water first! Success is the right amount of water at the right time
Check out www.sanjuanhopfarms.com for info on harvesting-- have the brewers come pick fresh hops. Works for us
 

RhodyRed

Active Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
35
Reaction score
0
Location
Rhode Island
I have to agree with Dan here. Our first year we started some of our rhizomes in a cold greenhouse, then put them in a cold frame, then put them in the ground. Not only was it a huge pain, the rhizomes that we bought and put straight in the ground outperformed the rhizomes we started in the cold frame. I think we ended up babying them too much and shocked them when they finally got in the ground.

On that same point, save the extra couple bucks and buy rhizomes. You'll be surprised how quick they'll grow. Like Dan said, you're going to need a lot of plants to fill 3 acres - $2 per plant of savings will go a long way.
 

The Pol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
11,390
Reaction score
117
Yeah, buy some fat rhizomes from mature plants, that will save years.
 

RhodyRed

Active Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
35
Reaction score
0
Location
Rhode Island
Hey Dan, I tried to send you a PM but it said your mailbox was full.

Sorry for the off-topic post everyone.
 
OP
NTOLERANCE

NTOLERANCE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Messages
435
Reaction score
6
Location
Made Milwaukee Famous
The reason I had thought about the cold frame was due to Wisconsins unpredictable weather.

I have had to wear a coat in June and gotten sun burn in Feburary.

WIll hops survive a late frost? I will have a cold frame up anyway for some of my other crops.
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
As the saying goes, "If you don't like the weather, don't worry. It'll be different tomorrow."

We didn't have any/much loss to frost, but we planted on a hill so there would be good drainage and make certain there was plenty of sun. What little frost there was, didn't seem to do any damage.

Also, if an early shoot does die for any reason (frost, wild animal, small child picking it), a healthy rhizome will have plenty of energy to shoot up another one. It just pushes your harvest back a week or two.

I seriously wouldn't put yourself of the rhizome through the stress.
 

Orangevango

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
596
Reaction score
5
The rhizome survives the whole winter, year after year, so I doubt a late frost will keep it from pushing up a new bine when it warms up.
 

JMOSBAUG

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Indianapolis
hey guys,

just read this post and I thought I would mention that I have a degree in agribusiness management from Purdue university, (with lots of contacts) i may be able to help with the "farming" process. My old man also is an agriculture teacher at a local high school and has a very large greenhouse. He is a pretty big beer fan so I am sure I could convice him to help me create some starter rhizomes that have been well taken care of.

bottom line is, i have been lurking in these forums for quite a while and I think this may be one of the places I can add some value.

If you would like me to check on some things, please... pm me.

I would gladly trade some horticulture experience for some all grain brewing tips ;)

merry christmas everyone!!!
 

Andrea

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
98
Reaction score
7
Location
Montrose
I forgot to add the best online source is the Small Scale Hops Manual from Crannoq Ales http://www.crannogales.com/farm.html
with an update for cost of putting in an acre of hops Good info

Also on Dr. Ron's page from Colorado State University you can access the Hops Workshop presentation. Great info from dirt to glass
http://soilcrop.colostate.edu/godin/index.html
And More info on growing and production also from CSU:
http://www.specialtycrops.colostate.edu/scp_exp_demo/hops.htm

Hehehe... add value
And a value added Solstice to all. Spring will come!
<A>
 

CoalBrew

Active Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
34
Reaction score
0
Location
Salina, KS
You make a dryer.

Should only cost about 500-600 bucks.

I mean. A space heater, 8 sheets of plywood, 8 sheets of foam insulation a fan, a digital temp controller, and some wire-mesh bottomed shelves... voila.
what about drying at cooler temps???? Ive heard the cooler the drying temp, the more oils / acids are kept viable...??? just a question?
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
Yep, cooler is better but sometimes you have to do something to drop the relative humidity. That either means dehumidification or adding heat. Just keep it under 100F if possible.
 

Orangevango

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
596
Reaction score
5
Cooler is better, but as Dan said, you have got to drop relative humidity to allow the air to pick up moisture from the hops. The drier plan I outlined would be able to function at whatever temperature you wanted it to, the space heater would only be on when the temperature was below desired levels.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
195
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Wi
I am going to plant some rhyzomes this year in my garden also 35' x 25' and let them grow up the 6' fence.

As far the drying process whats the best?

If just lowering the humidity is the key then a sani dry dehumidifier could work well. It is powerful enough to keep 3000 sq ft area down to 20% humidity easy. And it has a powerful fan which can be directed to blow directly over the cones with just a little ducting..

Good luck on your hop farm,
Just read an article in a Lodi Paper about Hop farms they are looking for people who want to go into the business. $10,000 to get in.
 

Andrea

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
98
Reaction score
7
Location
Montrose
You want hops to go down below 20%
They will rot and decay to 20% moisture reading

And be careful with super powerful fans-- when the umbels dry the bract's open and you can start tossing lupulin rich yellow glands around. Ouch

Out here in the wilds of Colorado it is 100degrees and bone dry when we harvest so our ambient air dries everything out even us (now you know why we have so many breweries). We can leave large quantities on screens in the barn and just keep the dust off and voila they dry down to 8% or so

Not sure of your humidity and weather.........
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
I am going to plant some rhyzomes this year in my garden also 35' x 25' and let them grow up the 6' fence.
35 x 25 will give you space for a number of plants, but you may want to put something up so they can go higher than 6'. As they mature, most of the cones come in the top 1/3, which is usually 12 to 18 feet up. Just get as high as you can.

As far the drying process whats the best?

If just lowering the humidity is the key then a sani dry dehumidifier could work well. It is powerful enough to keep 3000 sq ft area down to 20% humidity easy. And it has a powerful fan which can be directed to blow directly over the cones with just a little ducting..
Lowering the humidity using dehumidification is great but the problem is the dehumidfier has to be huge.

Think of it this way, if I have 10 lbs of hops to dry I have to remove almost 8 lbs of water. That's 1 gallon over 8 to 10 hours. Now take that time 1,000 to 2,000 and that's what you have to remove per acre. Drying your 3,000 sq ft house from 80% RH to 50% RH should only be about 1 gallon every two to three days, unless you have a really leaky house or overly sweaty kids.

Good luck on your hop farm,
Just read an article in a Lodi Paper about Hop farms they are looking for people who want to go into the business. $10,000 to get in.
If that was a re-print of the article from the Monday Wisconsin State Journal, that was about our company. The $10k figure isn't a membership fee or anything, that is approximately what you will spend on poles, cable, rhizomes, irrigation hose, compost, etc. to set up your 1 acre field. That's assuming you don't have to dig a well or run electricity.
 

Andrea

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
98
Reaction score
7
Location
Montrose
Wisconsin
is that where overly sweaty children come from?

Colorado
where stinky you stepped in something and for the love of god take a shower children come from
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
195
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Wi
35 x 25 will give you space for a number of plants, but you may want to put something up so they can go higher than 6'. As they mature, most of the cones come in the top 1/3, which is usually 12 to 18 feet up. Just get as high as you can.
Okay I will keep that in mind.



Lowering the humidity using dehumidification is great but the problem is the dehumidfier has to be huge.


Think of it this way, if I have 10 lbs of hops to dry I have to remove almost 8 lbs of water. That's 1 gallon over 8 to 10 hours. Now take that time 1,000 to 2,000 and that's what you have to remove per acre. Drying your 3,000 sq ft house from 80% RH to 50% RH should only be about 1 gallon every two to three days, unless you have a really leaky house or overly sweaty kids.
So you have 1,000 or 2,000 pounds of hops to dry in just a few days.
The dehumidifier that I have will take 100 pints of water out of the air in 24 hrs. That comes to a half a gallon an hour. Now that is considered in a 3000' sqft house with 8' wall heights.

It would take 16 days for this dehumidifier to take out that much water for your 2,000 lbs of cones. That is that it could take out 1,600 pds of water out of the air in 16 days. 4 of them could do it in 4 days.

Putting all the cones in a smaller area stacked on wire racks for the best air flow will dry them if you can keep the outside moisture from leaching in..

This is a small and compact machine that is powerful..

Great for a home but probably wouldn't work in your massive application.


If that was a re-print of the article from the Monday Wisconsin State Journal, that was about our company. The $10k figure isn't a membership fee or anything, that is approximately what you will spend on poles, cable, rhizomes, irrigation hose, compost, etc. to set up your 1 acre field. That's assuming you don't have to dig a well or run electricity.
I wondered if it may be you after I read your posts on this site..
 

CoalBrew

Active Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
34
Reaction score
0
Location
Salina, KS
Is there some kind of formula for heat needed to overcome relative humidity?

I am going to need to dry quite a few pounds in the middle of a hot humid Kansas summer. Before all this discussion, I was planning on simply building a multi-layered screen shelve system along the middle of our Barn and letting the wind dry out the cones... maybe using a fan on the not-so windy days here (is there such a thing??)

However, again, it is humid as all get out and I may need more drying capabillity. As GVH Dan said, I need to either dehumidify or add heat.

Anyone???
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
I wish there was a formula, but its not quite that easy.

The first thing you need to look at is an isotherm for hops. This is a measure of equilibrium moisture content vs. air's relative humidity.
Here is one from J. Agric. Eng. Res, Henderson 1973


Notice that if you dried with 50% RH air, you could dry your hops down to about 7% moisture content. The problem is that it would take days to get to that point. In order to dry in a reasonable time, we need a relative humidity lower than that. The lower the RH, the higher the driving force to move moisture from the hop to the air.

To see what your RH is, you need to use a psychrometric chart like this:


Notice that on a 90F day (Temp on bottom) with 75F wet bulb (the lines that slant to the left), we have a relative humidity of around 60%.

To lower that RH, we can add heat without adding moisture. As you add heat, you move horizontally to the right thus dropping your relative humidity and wetbulb temperature...but no change in the humidity ratio. With a lower RH, we can pull more moisture out of the cone, but at the expense of perhaps being so warm that you evaporate essential oils or damage the acids.

One thing to note, if you look to the far right of the isotherm you notice we can get to 12% at almost 70% RH. This means simple air drying without heat or humidity can remove a lot of moisture.

For pelletizing, we need to get the RH down to 10% or less. But if you plan on freezing your hops and using them within the next year, 12% should be fine. So you usually don't need to use heat or dehumidification. Just lay them out on screens in the garage, maybe with a fan blowing across them. If it is really humid outside, bring them in the air conditioned house for the last day...assuming SWMBO agrees.
 

CoalBrew

Active Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
34
Reaction score
0
Location
Salina, KS
I'm new so please fill me in on the SWMBO accronym. I've racked my brain but would like to know finally??? (I know spouse but exactly please????)

Back to business -NICE- I mean I really like the air dry should be sufficient, conclusion. At this stage, 12% should do fine as I am hoping to seal and freeze the whole cones as soon as they are dry... and deliver them to the buyers a few days after that (so they may store them). Ohh, and for scale I'm talking about 10-15 lbs of 1st year Cascades from 100 bines to be sold to a local brewer for "Randall-night" at the brewery and such.
My second year will prove to be a bit more challenging as I am expecting twice the output if not a bit more. I am excited to see just how well the air dry meathod works. I have a plan B - to use a dehumidifyer (Thanks TrailerTrashBrewer) and seal off a room in the barn to be used as a low-temp (relatively) oast which may end up being easier on the oils anyway. Which brings me to a few basic yet foundational questions:

Is there some sort of moisture content moniter that works well with hops?
Is there a good commercial vacume sealer that works good for 1 or 2 or 5 lb. packages?
Would I need to purge with argon or nitrogen or some other inert gas at this scale?

I feel as though I am pilaging info and will discontinue asking specific questions at this time!

P.S. where is OP??? where are you with your yard??? Got roots???
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
Is there some sort of moisture content moniter that works well with hops?
Is there a good commercial vacume sealer that works good for 1 or 2 or 5 lb. packages?
Would I need to purge with argon or nitrogen or some other inert gas at this scale?

I feel as though I am pilaging info and will discontinue asking specific questions at this time!

P.S. where is OP??? where are you with your yard??? Got roots???
1. I've tried a couple, but without luck. They only seem to work once the hops are bailed up and thus dense enough to get a good reading. Otherwise the calibration is off. We are trying to build on to put in the oast while they are drying. Give us a year or so.

2.& 3. There's lots of decent sealers. For commercial quality, there should be a cover gas. It all depends on how long they are to be stored and how much abuse they receive before packaging.
 

CoalBrew

Active Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
34
Reaction score
0
Location
Salina, KS
Expensive mistakes???? What are the three things aspiring small yard hop farmers should know? (OP... you still there?)
 
OP
NTOLERANCE

NTOLERANCE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Messages
435
Reaction score
6
Location
Made Milwaukee Famous
I am still here, been busy lately though.

Got some pics. I was only able to buy 100 rhizomes this year. Got them from a local company, Gorst Valley Hops. Dan from Gorst has posted on this thread.

Since I am a one man show so to speak, I have had to come up with some alternative methods. I am sure these methods will meet with some skepticism, but , without help, this is the way I have to do things.

I dont have a tractor or plow to use, but I did have acess to a bobcat and a post hole digger. I was able to secure a large amount of composted woodchips and manure. SO the plan: Drill holes where I want to plant, fill with organic compost and plant the rhizomes, errect trellis after planting.

I used a 24" post hole digging auger, and ran it down about 36". Here is a pic of the rows.



I am sure there are some who may not like my spacing, row width, ect, but I am keeping it compact for a reason: this isnt my land and I may need to move some day. I want everything close and compact.

Here is a pic of the hole:



Here is a pic of the filled and planted holes:



Still ironing out water distribution, the soaker hoses are temporary. I am going to go with drip irrigation. Putting it together in between planting/drilling. This isnt large scale so I can water them by hand, but its a tedious affair right now.

The more I plant the more I learn. I am sure I will modify my processes as time goes on.

As far as expenses go, I've got about $400 into rhizomes, compost and materials.

Trellis poles are industrial painted steel and were free. I have 8 of them, more than enough for the time being. My Dad has a good chunk of wooded land, and I spied numerous 30' + tall pine trees about 8" in diameter he says I can have for future poles. I've got plenty of twine, cable and rope for the trellis.

I've got 75 rhizomes in right now: 50 Cascade, and 25 Willamette, with 25 perle and 10 Centennial left to plant.

Gorst Valley hops had a great price on rhizomes if you bought them in batches of 100. Most of my communication with them was through email.....communication was a bit sporadic at times, but they came through and got me what I needed. All the rhizomes seem viable and in good health. I will buy from them next spring as well.

http://www.gorstvalleyhops.com/
 

Retrofit

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
782
Reaction score
19
Location
Aurora
I'm not sure what to say here. I use to own my own small business, nothing to do with hop growing. Over the years I met a lot of people that wanted to dive into small business, they basically had nothing but good intentions and some money to burn. Reading this thread, listening to the pros, listening the newb/pro, I just hear all the same things I heard from the various small business owners that didn't know what they were doing but jumped in blind.

I think any small business person that sits around the kitchen table and says "I think it will cost this me this much, and IF I get this many customers I'll be fine", they aren't making a business plan, they are just making themselves feel good. I think working with Charter Grower Program of Gorst Valley is going to be critical to your success IF you listen to what they say AND you develop a business plan. I think you need to spend more time listening to the pros, develop a better grasp of operating costs, and develop a clear plan for production.

I want you to succeed, but as a previous small business owner who has seen other small business owners try and fail, it just kills me to see you talk the same talk I've heard from these other people. Good luck man, I think you're going to need it.
 
OP
NTOLERANCE

NTOLERANCE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Messages
435
Reaction score
6
Location
Made Milwaukee Famous
I still have a day job guys....all my eggs arent in this, I am doing this for me honestly. I plan to sell to home brewers.

MY hop yard isnt "work" for me and honestly I dont want it to be a full time job at this point and time.

I am sure Gorst's charter program is a great set up for someone interested in turning a profit, or as a full time grower.

I rent a small field, grow the hops I want and will market them if I choose to.
 

Retrofit

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
782
Reaction score
19
Location
Aurora
I have to say that makes me feel a lot better. My own business closed in this recession, but before I closed I had the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of small business owners in my community. The ones that I had the hardest time talking to were the ones that just thought if they put an "Open" sign on the door they would make it. It just killed me to see someone invest money into a business then watch it turn into a money pit. Heck, my own business (a video store) became a money pit in the end. Anyway, I feel a lot better knowing you have a day job. Your in Wisconsin right? I'm in Aurora IL. Maybe I could see your set up sometime? I have 4 on the side of my house and 8 in my backyard. Today I broke ground on what will be 8 more next year. By no means large scale production, but I'm a double digit suburban grower! :)
 

jgln

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
3,521
Reaction score
64
Location
Southern, NJ
Haven't read all the replies but it would be a real shame if it was successful but you were not able to renew your lease at some point. I guess I understand though if you can not afford to buy land. Could the owner just take over your business?

I have about 7 cleared acres I grow hay on and have thought about doing this but when I did not even get replies back from local breweries if they would be interested that made me think twice about it. That and we owe a lot on the house/property and our jobs are shaky. Maybe not the time to make an investment and take a chance.
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
Don't take non-response from a local brewer as a "no". You need to understand that many of these guys are getting phone calls weekly to monthly from people wondering if they want to buy hops. I've heard stories of guys showing up with pickle jars and grocery bags filled with wet hops at a brewer's door asking if they want to buy them. Of course they won't. If a farmer knocked on a restaurant's door with a steer on a lead, would the chef say, "Sure I'll buy your steer. Just tie him to the dumpster."

Do a little research and you will find that most brewers want dried, pelletized hops that have at least the alpha acid tested. Some want more. Some will take whole leaf. some will even take wet. But educate yourself on the various ways they are processed, what testing must be done and how they should be packaged and then go back. You may find different results.
 

Latest posts

Top