Lexington County Farm-City

to strengthen the understanding of farm-city connections that provide food, fiber, and shelter.

Growing Hops for the Old Mill Brewpub in Lexington - a partnership of farm and city

There is a farm-city connection for almost everything we eat, drink, wear, live in or drive. They say if you eat even one meal a day, sleep between sheets, feed a dog, or drive a car, you depend on a farmer.

The Farm-City connection doesn’t stop at the county borders. The hops are grown in Kershaw County and used in Lexington County.That happens throughout the state. Lexington County is a versatile area of the state with a unique blend of urban and rural businesses.

Growing hops is a part of the business of agriculture? Craft beer is growing in South Carolina – literally – which means that farmers like Matt Rogers can grow local hops for more breweries and brewpubs in the state. No matter what the crop – local is perceived by consumers as better.

Small and independent brewers contributed about $34 billion and 360,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in 2012.

Breweries and brew pubs are a combination of agriculture and business. We call it agribusiness. Agribusiness has a $34 billion a year impact on South Carolina.

Did you know that over the past 5,000 years, hops have been used for medicinal purposes, as a fiber for paper, as a salad ingredient, in pillows as a sleep aid, and, of course, as a preservative and flavor agent in beer?

What are Hops? (the bitter)

  • Hops is an essential ingredient in beer production.

  • The female flower “cones” of the hop plant contain lupulin glands with compounds which contribute to the beer’s bitterness. They are often called the bitter.

  • Hops are a perennial crop that grow on a vine.  

  • Hops are considered the spices when brewing.  

  • Brewers add the flower of the female hop plant to the “boiling kettle” to extract its bittering and aromatic properties.  Hop flavor and aroma characteristics are often described as spicy, earthy, or floral depending on the variety and growing region.

 What is Malt Grain? (the sweet)

  • Malt is where most of the flavor and sugars is derived.  

  • Malt comes in grain form or extracts in dry or liquid form.  

  • The malting process consists of wetting the grain and allowing it to germinate.  

  • During the germination, some of the starches in the grain get converted to sugars while others become simple soluble starches and other enzymes.  

  • The grain is then dried and tumbled to knock the beginnings of roots off.  

  • The grain is then kilned to dry it thoroughly and carmelize some of the sugars like in crystal malt or blacken it like a black patent malt.  

  • The malt is now ready to be made into young beer.

What do you do with the spent mash by-product?

  • Spent mash is the leftover grain after extracting the sugars needed for fermentation. 

  • Spent mash is an alternative to the high cost of feed for livestock. Spent mash is high in protein, fiber, and contains almost as much energy as corn silage. The livestock LOVE it.

  • This by-product is a way to help the local agricultural industry as well as reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill.

What is the economic impact of microbreweries in South Carolina?

Before the Pint Law was passed, the economic impact was slightly over $254 million with 2,909 jobs reported. Per capita, the economic impact is $73.92 per person over the age of 21. These numbers continue to climb. If growing hops becomes a viable crop, it can be a new specialty crop for South Carolina farmers – something they can grow to add value to their operations.

Consumers are demanding locally grown. Some feel good about supporting a local farmer. Some are attracted to locally-produced goods for freshness. Some appreciate the fact that local means less of a carbon footprint.

See Tyler's Travels growing hops on Hazelwood Farm in Camden for the Old Mill Brewpub in Lexington here.

Lexington County Farm-City

Sponsors 2015

Clayton Rawl Farms, Inc.

Lexington County Farm Bureau

Lexington School District I Center for Advanced Agribusiness Research, Pelion

Lexington Soil and Water Conservation District


Price's Country Store

Roof's Basket Works, Inc.

Sandhills Young Farmer & Agribusiness Chapter


South State Bank

W. P. Law, Inc.

W. P. Rawl & Sons, Inc.

Wingard's Nursery & Garden Center