about us

slower. smaller. local.  
Small scale commercial hops slowly grown by hand for local Wisconsin brewers.

Simple Earth Hops operates a 1/4 acre sustainable hopyard which is used for education, research and demonstration and is located on Wisconsin Hwy 23, 1/2 mile north of Governor Dodge State Park at Greenspirit Farm CSA in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. The small scale community based commercial hopyard is planted with many varieties of hops and was founded on the idea of sharing (with local agricultural entrepreneurs) the economic opportunity that growing hops can provide a much needed local food product for local craft brewers. Currently, hops are available in very limited local markets and are mainly available from a controlling group of hop brokers [read: oligopoly] who operate hop mega-farms located in the Pacific Northwest (USA), China, Europe, New Zealand and from other far away growing regions [read: not local].

Simple Earth Hops was established to demonstrate that local farmers can produce a consistent, sustainable supply of ultra high quality hops by working directly with local craft brewers while still maintaining a focus on ecology, the land and the people involved.

Simple Earth Hops is the proud recipient of a 2009 USDA-SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) grant. This USDA grant helps to provide monetary support for this Midwest small-scale hop farming business.

This Dodgeville, Wisconsin small-scale commercial hopyard is owned and operated by the Sweeny family of Dodgeville who cultivate biodiversity to slowly grow earth friendly hops for local brewers with similar locavore ethics.

Company Goals
  • Serving the local community is more important than providing products or services for global markets.
  • Environmental sustainability is more important than financial sustainability (however financial sustainability is still of the utmost importance).
  • The existence of a thousand billionaires vs. a billion thousandaires - wealth creation which exists today in our modern day economy is unsustainable - socially and environmentally. 
These company goals are based on the Slow Money Principles.

The Need for Local Hops in Wisconsin and the Midwest

Simple Earth Hops was founded with the goal of focusing our marketing and sales on local brewers which we define as brewers in these United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. As of 2008, this local region had 354 craft brewers. However, a very limited acreage of hops is grown in our region to supply these local beer producers. 

Contrary to the needs of the large number of craft brewers in the U.S. (1,443 as of 2008), the hops industry has evolved over the years with a focus on providing a reliable supply of hops specifically for sale to industrial sized breweries [read: macro brewers producing bland yellow colored fizzy lagers]. A small controlling group of hop brokers [read: HopUnion, SS Stiener and others] contract with large hop farms located in the Pacific Northwest and overseas to grow hops for these macro-brewers [aka SABMiller & ABInbev] who hold a majority market share in the U.S. beer market. After these contracts are met, the left over supply of hops is made available to craft brewers. This frequently results in an inconsistent and inadequate supply of hops for craft brewers despite their need for a sustainable supply. 

Craft beer producers have made it clear that they desire a local source of sustainably grown hops. This, coupled with a lack of consistent supply, presents an excellent opportunity for local farmers in our region to produce a new agriculture product which can enhances economic sustainability. Read more from the 2009 NCR-SARE grant titled "Fostering Local Sustainability: Establishing Commercial Hops for Upper-Midwest Craft".

Hopyard Events

Each year, Simple Earth Hops will continue to bring the community together by organizing free farm events to spread education about growing hops as a sustainable farming option and to demonstrate how to duplicate and build on what we have established at the hopyard and with the brewing community.

Example of past education and demonstration events include:

Logos and Artwork
Use one of the logos or web buttons below to link to the Simple Earth Hops website @ www.simpleearthhops.com


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Simple Earth Hops logo "hop cone"

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Simple Earth Hops logo

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Simple Earth Hops logo  

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