Idaho’s first hop pelletizing facility opens in Wilder
Lacey Darrow, KIVI
BOISE, ID (KIVI) — In between the miles and miles of hop fields in Southern Idaho you’ll find a new state of the art building, Mill 95.
“Traditionally ever hop grown in Idaho has left the state of Idaho to be processed elsewhere, so we really thought there was a good opportunity to step in and help our local farmers but also there is an opportunely there to help serve the brewing community,” said DJ Tolmie, Operations Manager at Mill 95.
Mill 95 is the answer to many of the Idaho hop farmers inefficiencies.
They provide cold storage, logistical services and hop pelletizing and they’re the only one of its kind in the gem state.
“I think it legitimizes Idaho as a growing region for hops,” said Tolmie.
Jamie Scott, founder of Mill 95 comes from a family of Idahoans that date back generations with deep ties to the agriculture industry. She began asking hop farmers what would make their lives easier.
“We found is they needed a place to be able to bring their hops right away after bailing that gave them an opportunity to get them here get them cold and have a facility that could either be processed or sent of to their customers,” said Meagen Anderson, Sales Manager for Mill 95.
So they built a facility. One of their biggest draws is that it is in the heart of hop country.
“Oftentimes as I mentioned these hops have to be sent to Oregon or Washington for the next processing stage which we are doing here,” said Anderson.
“If you’re transporting anywhere from 34-44 thousand pounds of hops out of here to go to Oregon or Yakima Valley, that’s anywhere from 1,000 to 300 dollars a truckload,” said Tolmie.
Cutting the transportation time down drastically also greatly improves the quality of the hops which in turn helps the quality of the beer.
“If you have ever had a beer before and sat it out in the sun for a while or in the heat it’s definitely not going to taste like it should, like the brewer intended,” said Anderson.
It’s the same concept with hops. The faster they are moved into cold storage the better.
“What we are able to do is moving them from warm and ambient temperatures into cold storage which is going to preserve those characteristics that brewers are looking for,” explained Anderson.
They also can pelletize the hops which makes them easier to ship to the home brewer next door or a brewery halfway across the world.
While they said removing inefficiency and giving hop farmers more money to work with is one of the most important roles they play to Idaho hop farms, “that money can be reinvested into their business which means more people they are hiring to work on their farms more acres that they are dedicating to hops,” said Anderson.
But in the end, they said it is really about putting Idaho growers on the map.
“Telling their story to the brewing industry and eventually what that translates to is brewers being able to make great beer that drinkers love,” said Anderson.
“You say Idaho, they say potato, and we would like for them to say hops as well,” said Tolmie.