While sitting at many bars, I often picked up a pint of craft beer and proclaimed that beer is made with hops, most of which come from the same place I did: Eastern Washington.
“Washington is the largest producer of hops in the world,” I told friends or random strangers dozens of times during the 15 years I lived out of state. “We don’t just grow apples, you know.”
Many people were surprised to learn that Washington is the globe’s top source for hops, and this should be a source of pride especially as the craft beer movement is exploding nationwide.
But like many other crops that make up this state’s $49 billion agricultural industry, the workers who pick the crops often reap the least rewards — they deserve better wages.
As The Seattle Times reported Monday, the booming hops business is now suffering from worker shortages that have hit other major Washington crops, like apples and asparagus, in recent years.More