New Belgium Brewing Teams Up with CSU Graduate Student to Research Organic Hops in Colorado: Research to Allow Insight into New Local Crop Opportunities

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For Colorado State University Horticulture Master's Candidate Ali Hamm, growing and researching organic hops is a natural choice, allowing her to combine her fondness for home brewing with her passion for organic agriculture. Hamm, an avid fan of New Belgium's beer and sustainability efforts, naturally turned to the company when she was seeking funding for her research. New Belgium granted the request for $20,000, forming a unique organic hops partnership.

For Colorado State University Horticulture Master's Candidate Ali Hamm, growing and researching organic hops is a natural choice, allowing her to combine her fondness for home brewing with her passion for organic agriculture. Hamm, an avid fan of New Belgium's beer and sustainability efforts, naturally turned to the company when she was seeking funding for her research. New Belgium granted the request for $20,000, forming a unique organic hops partnership.

New Belgium's commitment to sustainability and organic agriculture is evident in the organization's daily practices, but also in its support of local research. Ali Hamm got the inspiration for The Colorado State Organic Hops Project, when she learned that CSU planted organic hops in 2004, but didn't complete the research. Hamm formed the project to see how different varieties of hops would perform in the Colorado climate. Local breweries, especially New Belgium, are interested in the results and the opportunity to utilize local crops instead of importing them from farms as far away as New Zealand.

"It is important for agriculture to move toward organic production, which will once again place importance on land stewardship that emphasizes biodiversity, soil health, and producer and consumer well being," said Nic Theisen, New Belgium Brewing Sustainability Specialist. "We hope that through funding this research we will be able to get the information needed to help Colorado's organic farmers make a profit while supplying Colorado's craft brewers with local organic hops."        

Hamm has used New Belgium's grant to fund materials, attendance at an agricultural conference and for her stipend. The project continues through May 2009, when she plans to publish a manual on growing organic hops. However, she recently hired an undergraduate student to continue her research and care for the crops after she graduates.

"New Belgium was very much an inspiration for this project and has been wonderful to work with," said Hamm. "They have been extremely supportive from the top down and are well educated about the impact this research can make on local agriculture."

About New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing Company began operations in a tiny Fort Collins basement in 1991. Today, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., New Belgium produces seven year-round beers; Fat Tire Amber Ale, Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Pilsner, 1554 Black Ale, Abbey, Mothership Wit and Trippel, as well as a host of seasonal releases. In addition to producing world-class beers, New Belgium takes pride in being a responsible corporate role model with progressive programs such as employee ownership, open book management and a commitment to environmental stewardship. For more information, visit http://www.newbelgium.com.

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ALICIA HASSINGER
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