Washington leads 2015 spike in U.S. hop production

MOXEE, Wash. — Demand from craft beer brewers led to an 11 percent increase in U.S. hop production in 2015 compared to the previous year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service says production totaled 78.8 million pounds.

Washington state produced 59.4 million pounds, followed by Oregon with 10.6 million pounds and Idaho with 8.7 million pounds.

Those three states produce about a third of the world supply. Oil from hop cones is used in beer for flavoring and stabilizing.

Production and acreage increased in all three states.

Ann George is the executive director of Hop Growers of America and the Washington Hop Commission.

She tells the Capital Press in a story on Friday that growers overcame extreme heat early in the growing season and a low winter snowpack.