Friday, January 9, 2015

First Regional NC and VA Hops Conference March 14, 2015

The First Regional NC-VA Hops Conference

March 14, 2015 at Forsyth County Center, Winston-Salem, NC

preceded by a Beginning Hop Grower Session on March 13

Register: HERE

Join us for the first regional North Carolina and Virginia Hops Conference with a special pre-conference event for beginning growers.

THE MAIN EVENT: The conference will run from 9 am to 5:30 pm on Saturday (March 14) with registration opening at 8 am. The conference is designed to bring together a large number of regional hop growers and brewers to help continue to grow the Southeastern hops industry. We have a great start, but to continue to advance, hop growers need to better understand the needs of brewers they want to sell to and the regional brewers need to understand the challenges facing hop growers in the Southeast. Working together we can avoid many frustrations and disappointments and build a strong, vibrant industry. Our keynote speaker is Steve Miller, Cornell University hops specialist. Other speakers include experienced growers, local craft breweries, researchers from North Carolina and Virginia, and other industry representatives. We are putting the program together now and information will be updated on the EventBrite page as speakers and their presentations are confirmed. Lunch will be served.
FOR BEGINNING HOP GROWERS: A special pre-conference event will be held on Friday afternoon (March 13) from 2:00 to 6:00 pm with registration opening at 1:00 pm. Learn how to grow hops from experienced growers in the region.

Instructors: Rita Pelczar and John Wright of Blue Ridge Hops in western North Carolina. Rita and John are two of the most experienced hop growers in North Carolina and are also, to the best of my knowledge, the only certified organic hop growers in the state. They are also excellent teachers and willingly, and with some humor, share their experiences growing and selling hops. Their business website is David Goode of Piedmont Hops. David and his partner, Steve Brown grow hops in Virginia and North Carolina. They started growing hops as a hobby for their own brewing, but by 2012 had turned it into a business venture. They are focused on expansion and determined to make hops an established commodity in the region. The business website is
WHO IS PUTTING ON THIS EVENT: This event is co-chaired by Jeanine Davis, hops researcher and extension specialist at NC State University and Stan Driver, co-chair of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative and owner of HootnHoller Hops. The program committee includes Sebastian Wolfrum, Brewmill brewmaster; Mary Jac Brennan Forsyth County Extension agent; Sean O'Keefe, brewing science researcher at Virginia Tech University; Ken Hurley, beer chemist at Virginia Tech University; Laban Rutto, hops researcher at Virginia State University; Rita Pelczar and John Wright of Blue Ridge Hops, Seth Cohen, brewing scientist at Appalachian State University, Margo Metzger, director of the NC Craft Brewers Guild, Cassidy Rasnick, director of the VA Brewers Guild, and Holly Scoggins, horticulturist at Virginia Tech University.
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: There are early bird and regular registration rates for the Saturday day long conference and the Friday afternoon beginning hop grower session. There will be a lunch on Saturday for everyone who registers through Eventbrite by March 7. Lunch or seating is not guaranteed for people who register at the door at the day of the event. SEATING IS LIMITED! Information on space availability will be noted here. Register HERE.
EXHIBITORS: There is room for 15 exhibitors to have tables in the hallways. Tables will be provided. Please note: this is not a big professional conference center with pipe and drape and such. You will have a single six foot table in a hallway. Space is tight, as in close together. Please plan accordingly. Exhibitors must also register for the Saturday event. You are welcome to set up on Friday afternoon from 2 pm to 6 pm for the Saturday event or you can set up on Saturday morning between 7:30 am and 8:30 am. Exhibitors must register by March 7.
SPONSORS: We welcome sponsors to help us put on the best conference possible. Sponsors will receive one free registration for Friday and Saturday, will be recognized here and on all promotional materials and the program, and will have several minutes to say a few words and show up to three slides at the event on Saturday. Please be prepared to provide a high quality resolution logo for all promotional material. If you would like to show slides on Saturday, those must be provided to Jeanine Davis ( by March 7. Sponsors may sign up until March 7th, but the sooner you register your sponsorship, the more promotional materials you will be included in. Because exhibitor space is so limited, please register for exhibit space separately if desired.
MOTELS: We are working on arranging a block of motel rooms for that weekend. More information will be posted when it is available.

Sponsors to date:


Where can I contact the organizer with any questions? Address your questions to Please put "Hops Conference" in the subject line.
Is my registration/ticket transferrable? Yes. Please notify and put "Hops Conference" in the subject line.
What is the refund policy? Registration for the conference or beginning growers session is non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, you can transfer your registration to another person or we will be happy to send you documentation so that your registration fee can be recorded as a tax-deductible contribution to the hops research in Jeanine Davis' program at NC State University.
What are the fees? The fees you see listed cover the EventBrite services and credit card processing services.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Health Concerns for Hop Growers and Processors-What You Need to Know

There is so much excitement around growing hops in the eastern US. We all know they are a bit of a challenge to grow in this region, but farmers are doing a fantastic job. I have recently learned about a situation, however, that none of us are talking about. That is the health risks of hop dust. So, my colleagues at Michigan State University have arranged a free webinar through which we can all learn how to protect our lungs while growing, harvesting, drying, and processing hops. Here are the details:

Hop harvest and processing safety webinar
Your Lungs, Your Life:  Respiratory disease in hop growing and processing

uesday, January 13, 2015
1 PM, Eastern Standard Time (10AM PST, 11AM MST, 12PM CST)
Hosts: Erin Lizotte and Rob Sirrine, Michigan State University Extension

Join us for this one-hour webinar with Carolyn Whitaker and Dr. Dave Bonauto from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program.  In this webinar you will learn how to keep your lungs healthy while growing and processing hops.  We will cover what to watch for, when to see a doctor, hop jobs associated with respiratory disease, and what you can do to protect yourself and employees.
The SHARP Program is an occupational health research group interested in preventing workplace injuries and disease.  Carolyn Reeb-Whitaker (MS, CIH) has worked at SHARP as a certified industrial hygienist for the past 13 years.  She administers Washington’s work-related asthma surveillance program and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Washington. David K Bonauto (MD, MPH) is the research director at SHARP, where he has worked as an occupational medicine physician for the past 14 years.  He earned his MD degree from Columbia University in 1993.  His research interests include occupational surveillance, chemical related illness, injury epidemiology, and work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
No registration is required and the program is free.  Simply click the following link five minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin Please sign in as a guest using your first name and state of residence.  You will need a computer with internet access, a web browser (e.g. Explorer, Safari) and speakers.  Don’t worry if you aren’t available on January 13th, we will record the webinar and make it available via 
MSU Extension programs and material are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by calling Erin Lizotte at 231-944-6504, requests will be met when possible.