Bringing Farm Brewers To Your County

Maryland farmers grow only approximately 25 acres of hops statewide- not a lot for a state experiencing an influx of craft breweries and burgeoning interest in agritourism.

Bryan Butler, an extension agent with the University of Maryland, is working with farmers to test 24 varieties of hops to determine which grow best in our state. WYPR quotes him as saying that he wants to determine whether Maryland farmers can grow “enough hops, good quality hops to really feed this industry in Maryland.”

Butler is working with Tom Barse, who owns Milkhouse Brewery in Frederick County and grows an acre of hops. From WYPR:

Barse has a farm brewer’s license. As long as his beer has something in it that he has grown on his farm, Barse can brew up to 15,000 barrels of beer annually, and he can self-distribute as much as three thousand barrels. He can also sell beer by the glass in his tasting room.

Barse was the first farm brewer in Maryland. He got permission from the legislature to do it in 2012. Now he says there are around 10 farm brewers in the state. “It’s not cool just that you have Maryland ingredients in you beer,” he said. “I mean it’s cool, but if the beer isn’t any good, what difference does it make?”

Read WYPR’s coverage here or listen here:

Learn about Maryland’s craft breweries, wineries and distilleries – and how to attract them – at the MACo Summer Conference session, I’ll Drink To That: Crafting Jobs with Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries, on Thursday, August 17 at 3:30 pm.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: