First Regional NC and VA Hops Conference March 14, 2015

— Written By and last updated by Cloe Nichols
close up of hops vine

The First Regional NC-VA Hops Conference

March 14, 2015 at Forsyth County Center, Winston-Salem, NC

preceded by a Beginning Hop Grower Session on March 13

Register: HERE

Join us for the first regional North Carolina and Virginia Hops Conference with a special pre-conference event for beginning growers.

THE MAIN EVENT: The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday (March 14) with registration opening at 8 a.m. The conference is designed to bring together a large number of regional hop growers and brewers to help continue to grow the Southeastern hops industry. We have a great start, but to continue to advance, hop growers need to better understand the needs of brewers they want to sell to and the regional brewers need to understand the challenges facing hop growers in the Southeast. Working together we can avoid many frustrations and disappointments and build a strong, vibrant industry. Our keynote speaker is Steve Miller, Cornell University hops specialist. Other speakers include experienced growers, local craft breweries, researchers from North Carolina and Virginia, and other industry representatives. We are putting the program together now and information will be updated on the EventBrite page as speakers and their presentations are confirmed. Lunch will be served.
FOR BEGINNING HOP GROWERS: A special pre-conference event will be held on Friday afternoon (March 13) from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. with registration opening at 1:00 p.m. Learn how to grow hops from experienced growers in the region.
Instructors: Rita Pelczar and John Wright of Blue Ridge Hops in western North Carolina. Rita and John are two of the most experienced hop growers in North Carolina and are also, to the best of my knowledge, the only certified organic hop growers in the state. They are also excellent teachers and willingly, and with some humor, share their experiences growing and selling hops. Their business website is David Goode of Piedmont Hops. David and his partner, Steve Brown grow hops in Virginia and North Carolina. They started growing hops as a hobby for their own brewing, but by 2012 had turned it into a business venture. They are focused on expansion and determined to make hops an established commodity in the region. The business website is
WHO IS PUTTING ON THIS EVENT: This event is co-chaired by Jeanine Davis, hops researcher and extension specialist at NC State University and Stan Driver, co-chair of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative and owner of HootnHoller Hops. The program committee includes Sebastian Wolfrum, Brewmill brewmaster; Mary Jac Brennan Forsyth County Extension agent; Sean O’Keefe, brewing science researcher at Virginia Tech University; Ken Hurley, beer chemist at Virginia Tech University; Laban Rutto, hops researcher at Virginia State University; Rita Pelczar and John Wright of Blue Ridge Hops, Seth Cohen, brewing scientist at Appalachian State University, Margo Metzger, director of the NC Craft Brewers Guild, Cassidy Rasnick, director of the VA Brewers Guild, and Holly Scoggins, horticulturist at Virginia Tech University.
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: There are early bird and regular registration rates for the Saturday day long conference and the Friday afternoon beginning hop grower session. There will be a lunch on Saturday for everyone who registers through Eventbrite by March 7. Lunch or seating is not guaranteed for people who register at the door at the day of the event. SEATING IS LIMITED! Information on space availability will be noted here. Register HERE.
EXHIBITORS: There is room for 15 exhibitors to have tables in the hallways. Tables will be provided. Please note: this is not a big professional conference center with pipe and drape and such. You will have a single six foot table in a hallway. Space is tight, as in close together. Please plan accordingly. Exhibitors must also register for the Saturday event. You are welcome to set up on Friday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the Saturday event or you can set up on Saturday morning between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Exhibitors must register by March 7.
SPONSORS: We welcome sponsors to help us put on the best conference possible. Sponsors will receive one free registration for Friday and Saturday, will be recognized here and on all promotional materials and the program, and will have several minutes to say a few words and show up to three slides at the event on Saturday. Please be prepared to provide a high quality resolution logo for all promotional material. If you would like to show slides on Saturday, those must be provided to Jeanine Davis ( by March 7. Sponsors may sign up until March 7th, but the sooner you register your sponsorship, the more promotional materials you will be included in. Because exhibitor space is so limited, please register for exhibit space separately if desired.
MOTELS: We are working on arranging a block of motel rooms for that weekend. More information will be posted when it is available.

Sponsors to date:

Fullsteam logo


Fertrell logo

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions? Address your questions to Please put “Hops Conference” in the subject line.
Is my registration/ticket transferrable? Yes. Please notify and put “Hops Conference” in the subject line.
What is the refund policy? Registration for the conference or beginning growers session is non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, you can transfer your registration to another person or we will be happy to send you documentation so that your registration fee can be recorded as a tax-deductible contribution to the hops research in Jeanine Davis’ program at NC State University.
What are the fees? The fees you see listed cover the EventBrite services and credit card processing services.