You are invited to participate in the 3rd Annual OHGG Hop Yard Open House. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, July 22 from 10AM to 2 PM. Participation is open to regular members of the OHGG. Last year we had 19 yards participate.
The purpose of this event is to give brewers, other growers, potential growers and anyone else you want to invite, the chance to see your hop yard, to get a chance to talk to you about all aspects of your yard, and for you to build some relationships that may lead to sales.
This effort is put on statewide as part of our mandate as a guild (By laws, Section 2. OHGG is committed to the following objectives: Section 2.1. Advocating for and marketing Ohio-grown hops under an OHGG Seal of Quality, and to increase awareness and demand. Section 2.2. Improving product quality, grower efficiency and profits through education and collaboration).
If you are interested, please sign up here as soon as possible- https://goo.gl/oiPEiQ
Please let us know NLT May 31, as we will start advertising this the first week of June.
Also, please review your hop yard’s information found on www.OHGG.org for correctness and completeness. This is a critical resource for brewers to locate the hops they want, so they need to know what you have and how to reach you. Look at both the map and the membership directory, both found under the Membership/Members Directory tab. Clicking on your map location should pop up a sidebar that can list your contact info and varieties/quantity grown. It is
currently based on the info you provided when you submitted your membership application to OHGG. Fill out any changes needed, and leave all others blank if they are correct. Here’s the link to submit changes- https://goo.gl/wBCC8f
Thinking about it? New to the guild? Concerned about how much you have to share? No worries! We’re all in the same boat, and you know more than you think. The main reason we’re doing this is to introduce you to Ohio craft brewers (many of whom have never seen a hop plant), and to help others who are considering growing or just started, learn from you. If you’re like most of us, you learned an unbelievable amount in your first few years, and can share not only your successes but also what you’d do different. Consider how much you would have appreciated this opportunity when you started out.
We’ll not only advertise this on the OHGG Facebook page (540+ followers), but we will also advertise this to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association (they’ve already been given a save-the-date), so you will hopefully get a few brewers. Brad will post this event on the OSU Horticulture listserve (1600+ subscribers), as well as the Ohio Hops Facebook page (1400+ followers), so you will get more than just OHGG members. As to how many visitors your farm will get, we will ask people to pre-register, simply to get a rough idea of numbers. It won’t be perfect, but you’ll know if you’re looking at 20 or 200. We’ll also share on the national hop growers forum on Facebook and ask our members to share.
What you can do:
Advertise and invite brewers! Consider posting this on your own website/Facebook page/Twitter/etc, or even contact a local news outlet. Try contacting some homebrew clubs near you as well. Ask your vendors or local businesses to post info. Invite your state representative and state senator; we are hoping to develop some favorable legislation, and having a few members in our hop yards wouldn’t hurt that effort. Use this as an opportunity to educate and recruit to the OHGG. If you have non-OHGG hop growers visit, or future growers, encourage them to join the guild.
This is a prime marketing opportunity for your hops if brewers show up. Also please use this as an advocacy opportunity for the entire guild. If they want a variety or a quantity that you don’t have, please tell them you can help them get it. We’ll email you a fact sheet about Ohio hops and the OHGG to hand out to interested folks- you’ll have to make your own copies. If you have business cards, pamphlets or whatever, have them available. Point them to www.OHGG.org.
Some practical considerations:
Think about having some way to ID yourself and your partners. Last year for example, many growers wore a shirt with their logo, set up a canopy right by the yard with a table with some info, and used that as home base.
Please do not charge admission, serve any kind of food or drink (unless you want to give away bottled water), or operate any machinery. These open you up to big liability issues unless you already operate and are insured as an agri-tourism business. Talk to your insurance agent if you have any thoughts about doing any of these. On that note…
Check with your insurance agent and give them an overview: no admission fee, no operating machinery, no food/drink/alcohol being served. Visitors are brewers/other growers/potential growers. For their purposes, estimate 50 visitors. It may be more or less, but that’s a best guess. If your policy doesn’t cover this, you should rethink your coverage anyway, but don’t place yourself at risk without it for this event.
Inspect your property, and identify all potential hazards. Either eliminate them, or clearly block and/or mark them with warning signs. For example: animals, electric fences, ponds, pesticide storage, machinery.
Ensure you have an area where you can park people safely. Consider marking it or having someone help park visitors.
Consider whether your farm is easy to find. If it’s not, mark it for this event.
Think about how accessible your field is from parking, and how to mark the path.
Please have your yard looking as good as possible, for your own good as well as the rest of Ohio’s growers. Whether we like it or not, people may judge us all by one or two of us. Let’s make it a good impression.
As this event happens, please make note of how you did it, what went well, and what you could improve for next year. Let’s capture those lessons learned to improve future planning and execution if we do this again.
Any questions, ask us…
OHGG Open House Co-Chairs
Derek Thompson, OSHY Hops
Dave Volkman, Ohio Valley Hops