Oregon Hops, The Beginning

The history of Oregon hops begins in the dirt just a few miles south of Rogue Farms in Independence.

The year was 1867. Farmers Adam Weisner and William Wells planted the state’s first commercial hopyard near the small town of Buena Vista. For reasons that are unknown to us, the first crop was a failure. But their attempts to grow hops caught the eye of Eugene area farmer George Leasure. Using rootstocks from Weisner and Wells, he started Oregon’s first successful hopyard two years later on the banks of the McKenzie River.

A Willamette Valley hopyard in 1900. From Oregon State University.
A Willamette Valley hopyard in 1900. From Oregon State University.

Hop Fever quickly spread throughout the Willamette Valley. Hops loved the loamy soils, the cool and wet winters, and the long sunny days of summer. By 1905, Oregon was the top grower of hops in the United States and would soon overtake Germany as the top grower in the world.

At Rogue Farms, we’re proud to be part of Oregon’s hop heritage. Come join us this fall and relax with one of our farm grown beers and spirits in the oldest hop growing region of the state.

To learn more about Oregon hops history:

Visit the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Oregon State University.
Ride the Buena Vista Ferry during a tour of hop country.
Search for historic hop photos in the Oregon State University Archives.
Read about Rogue’s beginning and the famous naked lady in a bathtub.