Historic hop industry topic of talk April 14

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In the late 1800s Central New York grew 80% of the hops in the United States, and that will be the topic of discussion in an upcoming online presentation hosted by Oneida County History Center on Wednesday, April 14.

A number of factors brought a swift end to things about 1920, but that once great industry is striving to make a comeback. The Oneida County History Center will host Madison County Historian Matthew Urtz, who will discuss the rise and fall of the historic hop industry, and Chad Meigs, founder of The Bineyard hop farm in Cazenovia, who will share his adventures in modern hop farming, at 6:30 p.m.

The event is free. Advanced registration is required and can be completed at https://www.oneidacountyhistory.org/programs.html. Registrants will receive a link and instruction on how to join the online event after registration is complete.

Madison, Oneida, Otsego, and Schoharie counties led hop production during its “Golden Age.” In 1890, the small independent farms of New York grew 40,000 acres, and shipped 3 million pounds of hops by canal and railroad, supplying breweries across the U.S. and the world.

The recent growth of craft breweries in New York has mirrored the growth across the country. There were fewer than 50 New York breweries 20 years ago, and more than 300 now. A few entrepreneurial farmers are bringing back the industry to its roots. Meigs will share his work of running a commercial hop yard and processing service since 2013.

Urtz was appointed the Madison County historian in April 2010. He serves on the Cabinet of Freedom for the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, on the Board of Directors for the Preservation Association of Central New York. Urtz’s articles have been published in multiple local and regional newspapers and magazines.  

The Oneida County History Center is a private, not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to preserving the history, heritage and culture of the Greater Mohawk Valley for present and future generations. Contact the History Center at 315-735-3642 or visit the OCHC website (www.oneidacountyhistory.org) for additional information.

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