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The Bitter Boom-And-Bust Tale Of Colorado's Bet On Local Beer Hops

Even with the backing of state-based beer giant Coors, small farmers just couldn't compete with the Pacific Northwest. And with more people choosing wine and spirits, some craft brewers are closing.
At Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colo., Scott Dorsch pulls down a box of hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington, the state that grows the most hops in the nation. "We would buy more hops than what Colorado could produce," he says. Source: Esther Honig

Back in 2010, there were high hopes in Colorado that locally grown hops, the plant that gives beer a bitter or citrusy flavor, would help feed the then-booming craft beer market. In just six years, the industry had sprouted from almost nothing to 200 acres, according to the trade association Hop Growers of America.

Inside the chilled storage room at the 22nd largest craft brewery in the country — Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colo. — brewer and agronomist Scott Dorsch pulls down a large box with the words "whole leaf hops" printed on the front. He rips open the silver packaging to reveal a mound of flattened,

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