Southern Research and Outreach Center - Waseca, MN

Southern Research
and Outreach Center

35838 120th Street
Waseca, MN 56093
Map to SROC (.pdf)

Phone: (507)835-3620
Fax: (507)835-3622


SROC Centennial maturing hop coneWe began hop research in 2010 at the SROC.  Hops are a perennial vine, and the female inflorescence is used to add bitterness, and sometimes flavor and aroma, to beer.  Craft breweries in the Midwest are interested in using local materials, and farmers are interested in (profitable) diversification and perennial cropping systems.  Minnesota reported 20 acres of hops strung in 2014. Many of these were new acres in 2013 or 2014. The majority of hops in the US are still grown in the Pacific Northwest.

2014 hop acres strung by state

We have begun to work toward answering the following questions:

  • How do we grow hops?

spring Chinook with stringHops have not been grown commercially in the upper midwestern United States since the hop craze in Wisconsin in the 1860's and '70's. Since then, a tremendous amount of new germplasm has been developed in Germany, England, and the US, and growing methods and tools have improved. But these production methods have been developed in climates and latitudes that are much different from those in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. For example, growers in Oregon and Washington have, through experience, determined optimum times for stringing each variety in the spring. But spring in the Willamette Valley is much different than spring in Minnesota, so we are working to determine optimum timing for stringing for 3 varieties: Chinook, Centennial, and Sterling.
  • Can we develop a new variety?

SROC 2014 sterling with remayhop seedlings in the greenhouseA single breeding program exists worldwide for generating new varieties that are available to all growers (USDA). Breeding programs elsewhere do not release new varieties to the public, and so they are generally unavailable in Minnesota. The USDA breeding program is focused on generating varieties for the large growers in the Pacific Northwest, though many varieties happen to grow well in our region as well. We would like to create new hop varieties that are ideally suited to the climate and challenges in the Upper Midwest. Our first crosses were made in 2012 and evaluation of those plants is ongoing. In addition, more crosses were made in 2014. Stay tuned, because creating a new variety takes a long time

  • Other research

We are collaborating with various groups and individuals to study hop production and processing. For example, we are investigating:
  • Hop diseases, with Angela Orshinsky
  • Hop processing, with the University of Minnesota NRRI in Duluth
  • Other breeding and trellis work (stay tuned!)
  • Extension and outreach with the Great Lakes Hop Working Group (stay tuned!)

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Charlie Rohwer.

Buy This Poster

Hop pedigree poster teaser

Hop pedigrees are interconnected and complicated but can be helpful for understanding existing varieties or for creating new varieties. This 24×36-inch poster displays the pedigrees for over 40 varieties of hops developed by English, American, German, and Japanese breeding programs. From Brewer's Gold to Bravo, Centennial to Millenium, Chinook to Challenger, the connections among hops found in many commercial beers are compiled in a visually appealing way, perfect for hanging in your brewery or lab.

Posters are available for purchase from the University of Minnesota Bookstore.  Proceeds are returned to our hop research program.

Research Updates

2013 report (.pdf, 1.6 Mb)
Year 2 report
(2011, .pdf, 767 kb)
Year 1 report (2010, .pdf)

Documents & Tools

Hop breeding for growers (.pdf, 592 kb)

MN Hop Pesticide List (.pdf, 267 kb, updated 2013)

Hop Gardening handout (.pdf, 464 kb, updated 2014)

Hop Drying Calculator

Handout from 2011 Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Grower's Association Conference

Trellis cost calculator (.xls)

Use your own specifics to evaluate costs for a trellis similar to ours.

  • cost of trellis materials (end poles, turnbuckles, etc.)
  • hopyard parameters (row length, row and pole spacing, plant spacing)
  • expected yield
Output, cost of trellis per:
  • acre
  • row
  • rhizome
  • pound of harvested hops

Varieties we have

  • Brewer's Gold
  • Cascade
  • Centennial
  • Challenger
  • Chinook
  • Kent Goldings
  • Newport
  • Nugget
  • Perle
  • Sorachi Ace
  • Southern Brewer
  • Spalt Select
  • Sterling
  • Vojvodina
  • Wye Viking
SROC hop image right