Hops production in South Dakota is a small, but growing industry. With the rise in craft breweries across the state, more and more people are eager to learn and perhaps cultivate their own. On April 14th and 15th nearly thirty attendees gathered for the first South Dakota Hops Conference in Rapid City.
Presentations & Commentary
This conference was geared toward small and/or interested hops producers featuring a Hops 101 seminar presented by Lee Jennings founder of Grow More Hops LLC. Kyla Splichal of North Dakota State University presented her research on hops variety testing at the Williston Research Center in North Dakota. Following these speakers, a grower’s panel discussed some of the obstacles and realities of small-scale hops production including the challenges of harvest, storage and marketing.
Finally, brewers from Crow Peak, Haycamp and Lost Cabin Breweries each spoke about the desire to see hops production increase in the state and the ability to utilize locally produced raw ingredients in their production. They noted the challenge of finding local products that can be produced in sufficient quantity and quality, which can be used year-round as opposed to seasonally or as ‘novelty’ products.
Hopyard & Brewery Tours
On the second day of the conference, attendees were guided through a small hopyard tour and then finished the day with tours of the Haycamp and Firehouse breweries in Rapid City. Overall this was a successful first attempt to organize the hops community within the state. This conference will hopefully become an annual event and grow along with the burgeoning hops industry in South Dakota.