Saskatchewan’s craft brewing industry has taken off over the last five years. Brewers have always had access to locally-grown barley and now even craft malt. But consistent quality hops production was previously nonexistent in the province. Enter JGL Shepherd Farms – Saskatchewan’s first commercial hop growers.
Starting a commercial hop farm was an ambitious and challenging endeavor, especially as we weren't sure how the plants would respond to Saskatchewan's distinct (and at times, harsh) climate. We researched growing techniques, spoke to other Canadian and U.S. growers, and developed and designed unique equipment and processes.
Thanks to technology, sweat equity, ingenuity, and constant monitoring and research, our hops have thrived. By harvest 2019, the per plant yield of our hops varieties was equal to or higher than mature plants in traditional hop growing locations. In addition, our hops have one of a kind flavors and aromas thanks to Saskatchewan's unique terroir, including soil conditions, farming practices and prairie habitat.
We're proud to be a part of the Saskatchewan agricultural community, and we love that our province's breweries now have the ability to create beer made from all local ingredients. But it's not enough to just be local- we also knew we had to create a high-quality product. Each step of our hop production process has been optimized, from the growing season, to the drying methods, and storage of processed hops to ensure that the aromas and oil content of our hops are maximized, creating more intense flavors and aromas. Our hops are a premium product and they play a key part in producing premium beer.
Today, our hops are in beers throughout the province, and are used and respected by both smaller craft brewers and larger companies. We’re proud to be pioneers and to help grow Saskatchewan’s craft beer industry.
Learn more about JGL Shepherd Farms:
Guy chats about the origin and success of our hop farm on 620CKRM
Justin talks hops with Matthew Barton, on the Rebellion Brewing Podcast
Georgina, Lori, Wendy, Terry, Garry, Justin, and Guy
WHAT BREWERS SAY
"Access to high-quality fresh ingredients, like JGL's hops, so close to home means we can be more creative and experimental with our recipes."
— Mark, President of Rebellion Brewing