Toppenish, Wash. - Call it a hops revolution.
Northwest farmers have begun planting new varieties of the key flavor ingredient in beer and working with researchers to develop ways to grow the crop without pesticides. The movement stems from a federal decision last year requiring brewers who label their beer as organic to use organic hops beginning in 2013.
Some say the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new rule could force organic craft brewers to tweak longtime recipes. Others believe the change will spark even more creativity among producers of organic beer.
Ultimately, it should mean people who want to buy organic beer will find more choice in the beer aisle, though they might have to pay a few cents extra per bottle.
"The organic beer market is still relatively small, but it's definitely catching on," said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, a nonprofit that promotes organic goods.