Growing Hops on the Eastern Shore

Asked March 23, 2016, 4:00 PM EDT

Hi, I am looking for information and advice to see if it is possible to commercially grow hops on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Thanks, --Chris

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Hops production has generated a lot of interest in the mid-Atlantic area. I would recommend joining the Northeast Hops Alliance and participating in the Maryland Hops Association Chapter as well. The Northeast Alliance has a nice newsletter. Dave Myers, Extension Agent in Anne Arundel County is leading a hops variety evaluation trial in Upper Marlboro. He has a hops report and some of the results on his website. In your area, Andrew Ristvey has done some work with hops production. He is starting a variety trial on the shore this year I think.

My advice is to participate in some of the upcoming hops workshops and visit the farms where hops are being grown. I think the key success factors for our area will be finding a market for fresh hops (normally through a local brewery –which is what is driving the hops local demand here), controlling diseases (especially downy mildew) in our humid climate and finally developing a system for efficient harvest.

Hops are grown on a very tall trellis system. After the cones mature, the bines are dropped and either harvested by hand or machine harvested. If you have a significant commercial amount, you will need to machine harvest. A large hops industry existed in New England some time ago, but downy mildew devastated the industry. It moved to the NorthWest region where humidity levels are much lower. We now have fungicides that are effective on Downy Mildew, however you will need to use a regular spray program.

The hops guide at the link below (from Virginia Extension) has a lot of general information on growing hops. There are also some good resources on the University of Maryland Extension’s website at the link below:

Contact for:

R. David Myers
Acting Assistant Director and Agriculture Program Leader
Extension Educator, Agriculture
University of Maryland Extension
Anne Arundel County Office
97 Dairy Lane
Gambrills, MD 21054
Phone: 410 222-3906, Fax: 410 222-3909


Andrew Ristvey:

Andrew G. Ristvey, Ph.D.

University of Maryland Extension

Extension Specialist for Commercial Horticulture

Wye Research & Education Center

P.O. Box 169

Queenstown, MD 21658-0169

Ph. 410-827-8056

Fax 410-827-9039