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Michigan leads Midwest in hop production, craft beer industry

A Know Beer class at Batch Brewing

Michigan has been a national leader in the craft beer boom. Brands like Founder's and Bell's can be found in many states across the country, and Detroit breweries like Jolly Pumpkin and Batch are getting plenty of acclaim, too.

Another piece of evidence that Michigan is uniquely thriving in the craft beer movement is by comparison to their Midwest neighbors. In that regard, there really isn't much of a comparison.

An article earlier this month in the Chicago Tribune identifies Michigan as the top hop producer in the Midwest with over 800 acres dedicated to the crop. Illinois has a paltry 30.

"Hop farms are popping up throughout the Midwest, a trend driven by craft beer's continued growth running parallel to the increasing popularity of locally grown food," writes Greg Trotter for the Tribune. "But in Illinois, unlike in neighboring Michigan, there's no state university-coordinated effort among brewers and growers to break down potential barriers to business. There's no research underway to determine the best varieties for Illinois farmers to grow that might give them a competitive edge."

The article then details the number of ways Michigan state government and institutions support its craft beer industry, whereas the same institutional support doesn't exist in Illinois. Trotter also writes about the industry's economic potential, which is already being harnessed to a large degree in Michigan.
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