Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Environmental Sciences and Management


Natural Resources Management


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Yiwen Chiu

Advisor Department

Natural Resources Management

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


The hop industry represents a culturally and economically significant industry in the United States due to the product’s significant role in the beer industry, but little is known about the environmental impacts associated with hop production. There exists a significant lack of specific research quantifying the emissions contribution of hop production, and the work that has been done lacks consensus in the scientific community. In an effort to overcome this, this study conducts a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA) of aroma hop production broken into four phases, beginning with propagation of seedlings by tissue culture and ending with packaged T-90 hop pellets ready for shipment. Ultimately, the results of the study indicate that the production of 1 kg of HBC 394 T-90 aroma hop pellets results in a global warming potential (GWP) of 4.42 kgCO2e/kg and a eutrophication potential (EP) of 12.17 gNe/kg. The phase with the largest contribution to GWP in the production system is on farm cultivation. The single most significant GWP input in hop production is the kilning process (28.19%), which occurs during the harvest phase. Similarly, the phase with the largest contribution to EP in the production system is on farm cultivation, while the most significant EP input in hop production is electricity (63.07%), which occurs during all four phases of production. While the environmental impacts of hop production are on the higher side when compared to the same amount of other agricultural products, impacts are relatively low when compared to the impacts per serving of other crops -- 1 kg of hop pellets can produce well over 100 servings of a relatively highly hopped beer. The results of this study offer baseline data with respect to the GWP and EP of hop production, but ultimately, further research is recommended to verify the results of this study and identify specific opportunities for reduction of environmental impacts.