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Heirloom Hops Available to Home Brewer

Written By Editor on 9/22/20 | 9/22/20

Announcement:  Several years ago the The Village of Middleburgh established a small hops patch in Timothy Murphy Park to remind residents and visitors of the hops industry that thrived in Schoharie Valley.  This year's crop is available to any small brewer for the asking.  For information, contact Bill Morton at (518) 560-0166 or by email at

It was in 1816 that the hops industry began in Madison County with the sale of two tons for about $2,000.  Hops fields began to spread east and west along U.S. Route 20 stretching from Sharon Springs to Cazenovia, and by mid-century hop production reached about 3 million pounds annually, making New York State the national leader in hops. 

The Pindar farm situated on the flats at the intersection of State Route 145 and Route 30 in the Town of Middleburgh was a major producer in the Schoharie valley.  The Pindar family began raising hops around 1890, so they were a fairly late arrival into the industry, but nevertheless successful.  

According to the Oneonta Daily Star, "the hop industry boomed until a series of bad events struck the region's growers.  In 1909, the crop was hit with a form of mildew, and efforts to defeat the disease failed.  After two bad seasons most producers had given up."  "Any remaining hop growers in the region were dealt a blow in 1919 with the passage of the National Prohibition Act."

The Pindar Brothers, nevertheless, continued to grow hops until 1952. This was long after most other growers had given up on hops. 

The hops in the demonstration patch in Timothy Murphy Park were obtained from root stock collected in a forested setting along Mill Valley Road in the Town of Fulton.  It might be safe to assume that the Timothy Murphy hops are descendants of hops which, during the 1800s, made New York State the nation's leading producer of hops.

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