2014 Was The Largest Hop Crop in Past Five Years

HOPS 2Hoppy days are here again!

According to an article in Saturday’s Yakima Herald, in 2014 U.S. hop growers produced their largest crop in five years. Even so, they could not keep up with the international demand for craft beer.

Last year featured a 10% increase in acreage but low yields and high prices, according to statistics released last week by the Hop Growers of America.

Rising prices and crop size have been driven by the growth in craft beers, which need more hops and a range of flavors. Washington state’s Yakima Valley produces about 77 percent of the nation’s hops.

Check out the full article here. Here’s to another banner year!

Spirits and Hops Trail In the News Again

Hoppy Ad Yakima ValleyMai Hoang of The Yakima Herald Republic penned a great feature today about our efforts and the City of Yakima to further position Yakima as a craft beverage destination.  We’re excited with the city’s commitment and all that we have accomplished the past year to market the craft beverages of the region.

What does the future hold? In 2015 we’ll be updating the Spirits and Hops Trail website plus print a map of the various craft beverage outlets on the trail. We’re also working with writers and bloggers that to host in the area and produce stories on the trail, the stories behind the craft beverages and dining opportunities. In addition, our marketing efforts will focus on fun food experiences and craft beverages. Currently we have a series of ‘We’re So Hoppy’ ads running in various lifestyle magazines including Sip Northwest and Northwest Travel (see sample at left).

So here’s to the new year and see you soon along the trail!

Holiday Gifts from the Spirits and Hops Trail

ciderIt’s down to the wire, the final days of the year. Scrambling for that special gift or special beverages to ring in the New Year? Try some products from the Spirits and Hops Trail.

First off you might want to visit any number of our wineries for your holiday dinner wine or as a gift. Many of the wineries also have a range of wine related gifts including novelty cork screws, wine glasses, coasters and more. Everyone wants a little bubbly for New Years so consider some Treveri sparking wine to ring in 2015. Our choice would be the rose’ but really, you can’t go wrong with any bubly! A fun alternative for New Years Eve is a hard cider or two. Popular choices include the cherry or apricot ciders from Tieton Cider Works in Yakima. Or try their Gingerbread Holiday Cider, a limited release only available at their tasting room. It’s filled with nutmeg, ginger, and hints of vanilla.

Then again, a hearty beer might be in order to chase away the cold of a winter night. In that case consider Twin Stag from Yakima Craft Brewing Company, a Scottish Ale ‘…perfect as a complement to good conversation and long, bold tales.’ If you’re throwing a grand New Years party consider getting a keg of High Camp Winter Warmer from Bale Breaker Brewing Company near Moxee. This seasonal brew is named for the ski lodge on top of the White Pass Ski Resort. And while Glacier Basin Distillery does not appear to have any special events at the Ranch this time of year, you can always find their fine distilled products at various local outlets and restaurants.

From all of us along the Spirits and Hops Trail in Yakima & the Yakima Valley we wish you a joyous and safe holiday season. Remember, enjoy responsibly!

Yakima Is Becoming the Craft Beverage Center of the Northwest

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Tieton Cider Works celebrates their grand opening of their cider bar November 1st

Last Saturday, Tieton Cider Works had their grand opening for their new 35,000 square foot production facility and Cider Bar at  619 West J Street. With that celebration another craft beverage operation comes to Yakima. It joins four existing wineries (AntoLin Cellars,  Gilbert Cellars, Kana Winery and Lookout Point Winery) and two breweries (Yakima Craft Brewing Company, which has two tap rooms, and Berchman’s Brewing Company, which has begun brewing in West Valley just this week. Though not in Yakima, let’s also give a nod to nearby Bale Breaker Brewery). There’s also three distilleries in Yakima or close by (Swede Hill Distillery, Glacier Basin Distillery and Scenic Acres Orchard) plus the bars, pubs and eateries that offer locally crafted adult beverages.  And it doesn’t appear to be ending there. Sources tell me that other breweries and wineries are in the works for Downtown and beyond. That’s great news.

In a way Yakima is coming full circle. It was the birthplace of the modern day microbrewery/pub scene when Bert Grant opened the first post-prohibition microbrewery in 1982. Sadly Grants Brewery Pub closed down some years later and it was not until 2007 that Yakima saw another brewery open when Yakima Craft began operations. It’s only natural that the brewpub scene  would come back to Yakima. Our region grows some 75% or more of the hops in America, and much of it is processed in the City of Yakima. Likewise, with the vast quantities of wine grape and fruit production the Yakima Valley it’s fitting that more wineries and distilleries are popping up around town.

These are among the reasons why we created the Spirits and Hops Trail in the summer of 2013. The site celebrates our agricultural heritage through the craft beverages that make Yakima and the Yakima Valley special. Another goal of the Spirits and Hops Trail is to help the craft beverage industry to grow and prosper through marketing and media relations. In the coming months the website and related projects will expand to include additional features about our craft beverages, festivals that celebrate and promote them plus the people behind the scenes making it happen. As always we’ll keep you posted on new developments in the beverage scene in Yakima and beyond.

In the meantime, enjoy this Evening Magazine TV segment on Tieton Cider Works.

John Cooper

Yakima Valley Tourism

 

 

News and Updates Along the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail

Tieton Cider Works ExteriorFolks are still basking in the glow after what appears to be the most successful Fresh Hop Ale Festival in downtown this past weekend. Unofficial projections place the attendance at nearly 7,000! There was a lot of activity and energy, not to mention perfect weather and a stellar sunset! Congrats to the organizers and volunteers who made it a success.

Now on to more fall fun!

Our friends at Tieton Cider Works are planning a new chapter in their operation by opening a Yakima tasting room. The expanded space will include a Cider Bar complete with 6 taps of their core and seasonal ciders. The official ribbon cutting will take place on location Thursday, October 30th at 3:30pm. Cider and light refreshments will follow in the Cider Bar. Their Grand Opening Celebration is slated for Saturday, Nov 1 from noon to 5 p.m. with cider tastings, facility tours and give-aways.  Their new digs are at 619 West J Street, Yakima.

While not a spirit or hop product, the annual wine crush celebrations are an emerging event in the Yakima Valley with dozens of wineries participating. Wine makers and staff will be sharing how wine is made as the grape crush is literally happening. Plus there will be wine discounts, food, harvest dinners, music and more at different wineries. Here’s a link of our member wineries and their activities coming up this week. Also, the Prosser Chamber of Commerce is putting on a Beer and Whiskey Festival Saturday October 11th so check that out too.

There’s lots of other celebrations and events happening this fall in the Yakima Valley to celebrate the season and harvest.

Finally, congratulations to the folks and businesses recognized as part of Sip Northwest magazine’s Best of the Northwest 2014, including Bale Breaker, Tieton Cider Works, Gilbert Cellars and Alexandria Nicole. Special call out to Sharon Campbell of Tieton Cider for being recognized as an cider industry influencer (so true) and Fresh Hop Ale Festival for being the Best Festival in the Northwest (agree).

See you on the Spirits and Hops Trail!

Fresh Hop Ale Festival Returns to Yakima

FHAF4Hey all you fresh brewed hop heads! The Fresh Hop Ale Festival returns next week so get your tickets.

Billed as one of the 10 Best Brew Festivals in the nation by various online magazines such as Americas Best Online, Suds Magazine and Seattle Beer news, the 12 annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival gets underway Saturday, October 4th from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. in in downtown Yakima. Attendees can sample a selection of 36 different craft beers and fresh hop brewed beers, local wines and ciders. Various local restaurants will also be on hand to serve.   Live music includes Seattle bands Cumulus and Smokey Brights.

This event is big! More than over 5,000 people are expected.  General admission is $30.00 online and $35.00 day of event at the gate. Proceeds from the event support two local art institutions the Yakima Valley Museum and the Seasons Performance Hall.

Other festivities prior to this event include the 2014 Brewers Dinners, Oct. 1st – Oct. 3rd where brewers and chefs pair their talents and products to create memorable dining experiences. Participating restaurants & breweries are Bert’s Pub with Bale Breaker Brewing Company, Second Street Grill will host Fremont Brewing Company, and the Yakima Valley Hops Brew Bash, hosted by Fresh Hop with Sierra Nevada beer served, along with a few other drink choices.

For more information on the 2014 Fresh Hop Ale Festival visit http://freshhopalefestival.com/index.html

 

(Photo by Sara Lasha)

Beer Geeks TV In Town This Week

bgtv550The popular cable show Beer Geeks was in town this week filming our wonderful hop fields and the harvest. According to the producer David Page, the footage will be part of a segment on Northwest based breweries. As David told us, they’ll be telling the story of the Yakima Valley hops and it’s importance to the beer industry. We’ll keep you posted on when the segment will air.

In the meantime, here’s to enjoying Yakima Valley hops in all the craft beers you enjoy! Come enjoy the harvest by visiting the Spirits and Hops Trail.

Prosser to Launch Beer and Whiskey Festival

Beer & Whiskey FestivalLong a focal point of the wine industry, the Prosser Chamber and community partners are looking to expand their reputation into other adult beverages with the Prosser Beer and Whiskey Festival October 11th from 4- 10 p.m.

Several northwest breweries and distilleries are scheduled to be on-hand providing attendees with a wide selection to taste. In addition to featuring local brews and spirits, there will be live music, food vendors and a rib cook-off judged by local chefs. Ticket packages start at $15 for General Admission which includes entrance and a logo glass. A $50 VIP ticket is limited to 200 tickets and includes a logo glass, 25 tokens towards food and drink purchases, and access to the cigar lounge. The $75 All Access passes are limited to only 100, and include a logo glass, 30 tokens towards food and drink purchases, access to the cigar lounge, a pre-event distillery tour at Blue Flame Spirits, and a welcome bag. Event only open to those 21 and over.

Event venue is the Prosser Wine & Food Park, 2880 Lee Road Prosser, WA 99350. (We wonder if after this event they’ll have to change that name?). Another great event along the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail!

Tickets for the event are on-sale now and can be purchased at www.tourprosser.com or by calling the Prosser Chamber of Commerce office at 509-786-3177.

News Along the Spirits and Hops Trail

Beer pictureIt’s a busy season here in ‘hop central’, also known as the Yakima Valley. Harvest is coming and the bines are full of fragrant hops ready for cutting.

The word at the brew pubs in the Valley is that it’s been a great summer with visitors coming from near and far. I was in Yakima Craft’s new tasting room downtown Saturday and the place was packed! Our local paper did a nice write up about their opening and our efforts to build beer tourism with the Spirits and Hops Trail.

And SmarterTravel.com did a shout out to the trail in a piece they wrote last month titled America’s Best Small Cities on the Rise. Pretty cool huh?

 

 

Case of the Blues and All That Jazz

OCase of the Bluesne of the biggest events of the summer is this here! A Case of the Blues and All That Jazz is Saturday, 5-11pm at Sarg Hubbard Park along the beautiful Yakima Greenway near downtown. This blues and jazz festival not only is a fun celebration but it also benefits the community through the Yakima Greenway Foundation and Junior League of Yakima programs.

What we love is that local breweries, wineries and great local food will be available. For live entertainment there’s Tuck Foster & The Mossrites, Anni Piper and the popular Billy D and the Hoodoos.

Please note that this is a 21 and over event.  Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 day of the event. Visit yakimagreenway.org/blues for event information and tickets or call 509-453-8280. Check also their Facebook page for updates.