Ellicottville Brewing Company and LERGP Team Up To Produce Local Harvest Ale




The recent farm brewery legislation passed in New York State has created the need for locally grown brewing materials; making hops one of the fastest growing agricultural commodities in the state. With the recent downturn in the market for Concord grapes, growers in the Lake Erie region have started looking for alternative crops that fit into their current vineyard operations.


The mission statement of the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program calls for LERGP to lead in the development and dissemination of innovative, research-based information providing the New York and Lake Erie Region Grape Industries with integrated tools to maximize efficiency, profitability and opportunities for diversification. With Lake Erie grape growers facing an unprecedented loss in market, through cancellation, or reduction, of contracts by active processors, to the loss of market as one processor closed its doors, the need for diversification has never been greater.


The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP) has been conducting research and extension programming on hops production as an avenue for diversification for Lake Erie grape growers for the past 5 years. As a method for examining the end use of hops produced in the Lake Erie region, hops grown at the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL) have been used by the brewers at Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC) to produce a harvest ale for the past three years. On August 20 of this year, members of the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program delivered freshly picked Cascade and Chinook hops to EBC for inclusion in this year’s edition of their harvest ale named “Hopicity”. The crew was happy to be able to stay and work alongside EBC’s head brewer Dan Minner and his staff to produce a brew featuring locally grown hops, as well as malting barley grown and malted in NYS from NYS Craft Malts in Batavia, NY. The production of a wet hop harvest ale like Hopicity requires great communication between the hop grower and brewer as wet hops are used in the brewing process. A wet hop is a hop that is harvested and delivered for use by the brewer as soon as possible since there is no processing involved. For this year’s Hopicity some of the hops were picked minutes before being loaded up for the trip to Ellicottville.


The hops used in Hopicity are a product of LERGP and NYS IPM Program staff conducting research on how different hop varieties react to the local insect, disease and weed pests and the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies that can be used against them. Current research at CLEREL includes alternative weed management strategies, nutrition management and its effect on pests, and biological control of twospotted spider mites. Hopicity was available at EBC in Ellicottville, NY and was one of the beers available during Buffalo Beer Week from September 25 through October 4 in Buffalo, NY. The collaborative effort was publicized in local newspapers, via the web and by servers at Ellicottville Brewing Company in Ellicottville, NY.

Submitted by: 

  • Weigle, Timothy H

Researchers involved: 

  • Weigle, Timothy H
  • Minner, Dan

International focus: 

  • United States of America

United States focus: 

  • New York