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Round Table Hops is dedicated to revolutionizing craft beer by growing hops in a 4-season hydroponic hop greenhouse.
Round Table Hops is dedicated to revolutionizing craft beer by growing hops in a 4-season hydroponic hop greenhouse.
154 backers pledged $25,147 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Round Table Hops: Where Beer Grows

$25,147

154

Our Story:

Round Table Hops began in the deep rooted belief that there is always a better way to do something. We believe that we as a society have an obligation to not only be our best, but work towards being better. This is a concept deeply entrenched in local craft beer and is why we love it so much.

With a desire to support and strengthen this industry, we couldn't ignore some of the issues facing craft beer, and specifically the hop industry. Things need to change, and we're here to change them. 

We began to discuss the possibility of hydroponic hops over 3 year ago. The first question we asked is, “has anybody tried this before?” So we did what you should do with any new idea; we began talking with people. We talked with researchers, farmers, brewers, and drinkers. Basically anyone that would hear us out. The vast majority of the people we met expressed skepticism or outright doubt. Despite the lack of support we received initially, we couldn't find anyone who had actually tried it. So we decided that their theory that it wouldn't work was no better or worse than our theory that it would. We threw caution to the wind and decided to prove or disprove it the only way we knew how: hard work. 

We spent the next 2 years designing, redesigning, re-redesigning and finally building a prototype greenhouse. In defiance of our full time jobs and lack of funding, we picked up our hammers and got to work. 

We spent so much time there that it doubled as our own private little bed and breakfast. 

Our Home Away From Home
Our Home Away From Home

On November 10th of that year we put the finishing touches on the greenhouse. That night we got a foot of snow. We consider this to be the point of realization- this was going to work. The fact that we broke ground in April, worked every spare moment for 8 months, and finished 4 hours before the first and biggest snowfall of the year was just too big of a coincidence. 

Over the winter we put our greenhouse to work and on April 27th 2015, we harvested the worlds first off-season hops. It was the proudest moment of our lives. We had done the impossible. 

We can tell you today that hydroponic hops are possible and we want you to join us in bringing those hops to your favorite brew. 

Together, we can build this into a movement that will change craft beer forever. Thank you so much for all your support. Not only could we not do this without you, but we wouldn't WANT to do it without you. 

Cheers, 

 Ben, Erin, Mike & Ted

The Problem:

As one of 4 key ingredients, hops have a massive impact on beer. They contain oils and acids that impart flavor and aroma. Beer as we know it cannot exist without hops. As important as hops are, a hop cone is a very fragile thing.

What's the biggest destroyer of hops? 

Time

Hops are harvested once a year. And just like a banana sitting out on the counter, they decay over time. That means they have to be dried and frozen so they don’t spoil. But even with proper storage, some hops loose 50% of their quality in just 6 months.

But we grow our hops indoors!

This means we can harvest our hops precisely when the brewer needs them. This ensures the freshest, highest quality hops for each and every beer you drink.

 Also, did you know that 'local' beers aren't brewed with local ingredients?

99.9% of hops in the US are grown in the Pacific Northwest.

That's why Round Table Hops will strictly sell to breweries in our surrounding area. Wouldn't we all prefer local beers be made with local ingredients?

 A Hop Shortage

With the explosion of craft breweries, the hop industry has struggled to keep up. There simply aren’t enough. Hops are only harvested once a year. By moving indoors and harvesting 3 times a year, we can greatly increase the efficiency of a hop yard. In a 4-season greenhouse, we are able to surpass traditional yields by 30 times. This means we could supply every Minnesota Brewery in just 15 acres of greenhouse space. It would take 450+ acres of traditional farming to achieve the same quantity. 

 A Sustainable Future

With traditional hop farms using up to 3 million gallons of water a day and 15 or more applications of pesticides annually, it’s easy to see the need for more sustainable technology. Our system gathers rain water and feeds it to the plants along with the nutrients they need to thrive. Any water that isn’t used by the plant is recycled back into the system and recaptured. This means 100% of the water we use gets absorbed by the plants. Growing indoors also allows us to have much greater control over the pests and diseases entering our greenhouse. In 2 harvests we’ve not used a single pesticide.

Our Team:

Our Next Steps:

With 3 years of research and development under our belt, Round Table Hops is ready to move into commercial production. We are building a 3 acre greenhouse in Hugo, MN starting in the Spring of 2016.

Minnesota breweries will use 1 million pounds of hops this year and Minnesota hop farms will only provide 20,000 pounds. Our 3 acre greenhouse will be able to produce 200,000 pounds each year with room to expand. This facility will be complete with a processing, packaging, and distribution center on site to further ensure that our hops are of the highest quality. 

We have already built relationships with breweries wanting to use our hops. Some include Big Wood Brewery, Hammerheart Brewing, Day Block Brewing, Excelsior Brewing, Burning Bros, and Insight Brewing. 

“If you can supply enough hops, I don't know why we wouldn't buy exclusively from you.” - Austin Lunn head brewer, Hammerheart Brewing

Where is the money going?

We are so close. We have two incredibly telling harvests under our belts as proof of how amazing our system works. Now it is time to move forward so that we can provide craft beer drinkers the hops that they deserve.  

We have come this far with personal investments but the scope of this project is beyond what we can afford. We have larger investors eager to jump on board but first they want to see more progress. We need a designer to help design the new greenhouse as well as the resources to power and maintain our current greenhouse throughout the cold winter in Minnesota. The money we hope to raise on Kickstarter will go towards closing the gap on our start-up needs and help propel us into larger investor agreements.

Without you, the steps towards a commercial greenhouse mean nothing. This is about you, this is about changing the way we enjoy beer, and it’s time to #PullUpAChair.

Rewards:

This is our way of saying thank you for all your support. We are very excited about our rewards. They provide us with a way to show our gratitude and they provide you with a way to be a part of this revolution. 

 Video Credits:

We could not have made such an amazing video alone.

Music: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

Photography: http://chelseareeckphotography.com/

Risks and challenges

Our project has increased in momentum rapidly over the last year and we have proven a lot. But we are not out of the woods yet. This is a complex project that is not without it’s risks and challenges.

We are taking a very old industry and flipping it on it’s head and that is never easy. We have a lot to prove in the eyes of breweries. They stake their reputation on their beers and they demand proof of the quality and consistency of our hops. The transition from a small pilot greenhouse to a 3-acre greenhouse will not be an easy one. That being said, we have spent the last 3 years identifying potential problems and developing solutions ahead of time. So far we have not come across anything that our team couldn’t handle.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Welcome to the revolution. Your contribution gets you a RTH STICKER AND A SHOUT OUT on our social media pages.

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    Receive one of our favorite HOME BREW RECIPES for you to try out.

    -OR-

    Not a home brewer? Get a HAND WRITTEN POSTCARD signed by the crew and an RTH sticker. Everyone loves mail!

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    Choose a topic and we will WRITE YOU A LETTER discussing our thoughts on the matter. This letter will be written with all our wits about us. PLUS an RTH sticker.

    TOPICS:
    -Space and the Universe
    -Predicted Oscar Nominations
    -What we would do if we won the lottery
    -Our Biggest Phobias
    -Cats vs Dogs

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    Choose a topic and we will WRITE YOU A LETTER discussing our thoughts on the matter. This letter will be written under severe influence of alcohol. PLUS an RTH sticker.

    TOPICS:
    -Space and the Universe
    -Zombie Apocalypse Survival Plan
    -Our Worst Dates
    -Our Thoughts on Magic and It's Existence
    -Favorite Sandwich Recipe or Experience

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    KEY CHAIN - Hand made by local metal smith Claire Kayser, this double sided etched Nu Gold key chain is the perfect balance between function and fashion.

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    AFTER HOUR PARTY with HAMMERHEART BREWING. Get your name on the list for an after hour party at Hammerheart Brewing (in Lino Lakes, MN) on January 17th from 8pm-10pm. They are staying open 2 extra hours that evening so you can meet the brewers and talk about beer. Come early and stay late. We will be there too!

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    BREWER FOR A DAY - Join us and Excelsior Brewing on January 23rd and experience what it is to be a professional brewer. We will be brewing a batch on their pilot system and you get to help and learn every step of the way. You'll also be invited back when the beer goes on tap! You'll learn about the brewing process, get some hands on experience, and help brew a beer for all the world to enjoy!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    T-SHIRT - Get our original hashtag t-shirt printed locally in Minnesota PLUS an RTH sticker. Show off your cool new swag! (Men's and Women's available)

    -OR-

    BALL CAP- Get a Round Table Hops logo cap. Keep your dome protected and show off your passion for craft beer at the same time! Now that's efficient.

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    PINT GLASSES - Get a pair of screen printed pint glasses and bar coasters. These are so cool, you'll never drink alone again.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    ADOPT A PLANT - Once we complete our greenhouse, we will name a hop plant in your honor, send you pictures as it is growing, and then tell you which brewery those hops ended up going to. It's like your own personal hop tracker.

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    HAND MADE BEER STEIN - Local potter Derek Rausch is hand crafting beer stiens complete with the RTH logo. This one is sure to make your friends jealous PLUS an RTH sticker.

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    BOTTLE OPENER - This isn't your ordinary bottle opener. Hand made by local metal smith Claire Kayser and laser engraved with our logo PLUS an RTH sticker.

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    HAPPY HOUR HANG OUT - Meet up with the team at the brewery/taproom of your choice and we can all get nerdy about beer and hops.

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    BOTTLE OPENER (Engraved) - The same bottle opener as above but this time you get to have it custom engraved. Hand made by local metal smith Claire Kayser - PLUS an RTH sticker.

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    LIMITED EDITION WOOD CUT PRINT POSTER - Nate Perkins is a local print maker and he drew up, and hand wood cut this poster for us. We thought it was so cool we got a limited run for RTH fans. Check it out in our rewards section.

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    ULTIMATE SWAG PACK - Really want to show off your love for local hops? This package gets you one tricked out.
    -Hashtag Tee
    -RTH Logo Hat
    -Pint Glass Set with Coasters
    -3 RTH Stickers

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    ADOPT A ROW - One plant not enough? Sponsor a whole row of them! We will give you a shout out on our website and facebook and, once we harvest, let you now which brewery those hops ended up at.

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    Pledge US$ 400 or more About US$ 400

    BREW WITH THE CREW - Grab 5 of your friends and brew a batch of beer with the RTH crew using the fresh hops from our upcoming spring harvest! This is a great way to get your hands on our hops and see what they're made of.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    BREWERY TOUR (BIG WOOD BREWERY) - Enjoy a private brewery tour for up to 10 people. You'll meet the RTH crew and the President of Big Wood Brewing and see how beer gets made.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    BREWERY SPECIAL - This reward is designed specifically for breweries. You'll be sponsoring one of the 14 houses (or pods) within the greenhouse. You get input as to which varieties we grow, first rights to those hops, first 100 pounds free, and your brewery logo printed on a sign and hung in the house you sponsored so all the world will know you helped kick of the local hop revolution! Want to see year-round fresh hops become a reality? This is the way to do it.

    -OR-

    Don't represent a brewery? We'll give you free hops for LIFE for all your homebrew beers and your name will go on our special 'thank you' wall. Be one of the first home brewers to have access to fresh hops all year round... FOR LIFE!

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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    WHERE IT STARTED PUB CRAWL - We will rent a party bus for up to 15 people and take you to some of the breweries and taprooms where we had some of our first business meetings. Let's ride in style!

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    Pledge US$ 3,500 or more About US$ 3,500

    PRIVATE DINNER PARTY - Enjoy an evening on the town for up to 35 people at Bricks Kitchen and Pub. This includes the cost of an entree, some of which even feature our hops. Great for business gatherings or sporting events. (There's a giant TV!)

    PLUS

    Get your name on our 'thank you' wall to be hung in the greenhouse.

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Funding period

- (37 days)