Hops Research


Due to the growth of the craft beer industry in Virginia and the region, the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University (VSU) set out in 2014 to explore the merits of initiating a research and extension program on hops (Humulus lupulus L.). Hops is an important ingredient in brewing that is used primarily to infuse aroma and bitterness in beer. Unfertilized female flowers (cones) are the plant parts harvested for this purpose.

We identified stakeholder needs and concerns by reaching out to a diverse audience that included growers, brewers, research scientists and extension agents. VSU’s College of Agriculture also hosted a stakeholder workshop that brought together growers, researchers, extension agents, brewers, and other invited speakers to discuss the future of hops as a crop in the region and to identify key challenges to be addressed through research and development.     

In response to stakeholder interest, VSU’s College of Agriculture is establishing hops and alternative grain research and outreach programs to support Virginia growers interested in supplying ingredients to craft and home brewers. We have completed construction of a 1-acre hop yard and agronomic trials on sorghum and two millets (potential sources of gluten-free malt) are ongoing.

The Hop Yard

The VSU hop yard was constructed using internal resources and labor, and we have summarized our experiences and cost estimates for the benefit of growers interested in establishing a 1Ž2 acre yard. Click here to learn more.

Please visit our page for updates and other resources, or contact the VSU hops research and extension team leader:

Laban K. Rutto 
Tel: 804-524-6781
Fax: 804-524-5622
Email: lrutto@vsu.edu

Download the hops presentation by Jeanine M. Davis, Ph.D, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Dept. of Horticulture Science, NC State University
Download the 2014 Virginia Hops Grower Survey Summary by Laura Siegle, Amelia County AgricultureExtension Agent
Download the Status and Outlook on Hops in Virginia Presentation by Laura Siegle, Amelia County AgricultureExtension Agent