BUTTE - The ingredients to make beer – malt and hops – grow in Montana. And the hops growers are seeing their industry expand.
“It’s really an exciting time in the industry and to really be able to see that growth start,” said Butte Local Development Corporation CEO Joe Willauer.
Hops, an ingredient that preserves and brings flavor to beer, grows well in Montana.
“We’ve seen some expansion, there’s kind of some clusters throughout our state that really pushed with it, and even here in town we have hops that randomly grow on the side of buildings,” said Willauer.
Butte will host a summit this week for hops growers and brewers to help them navigate the business side of the industry.
“One of the biggest challenges with growing hops is it’s financially intense to get started,” said Willauer.
And those in the brewing business say more and more customers really appreciate a product that’s homegrown, and nothing's more homegrown than homegrown hops.
“We have breweries striving for that made-in-Montana beer, you know, that’s pretty much made in Montana. There are a few things that prevent us from doing 100 percent made in Montana, but we can get pretty close,” said Butte Brewing Co. Head Brewer Devon Gruel.
The summit will begin Thursday and continue through Friday at Butte Brewing.