Celebrating The Migrant Workers Who Make Craft Beer Possible

Celebrating The Migrant Workers Who Make Craft Beer Possible

A few things signal the transition to summer here in the Yakima Valley: we start planning our camping trips instead of our trips up to White Pass, the hop fields that have lied bare and dormant throughout the winter start showing signs of life, and we release Sesiones Del Migrante Mango IPA for the season. First brewed in 2017, this beloved hop-forward fruity IPA is a fan favorite. This year we’re thrilled to bring back our in-person celebration of Mango IPA and the migrant workers who inspired this worthy cause.

Join us and Yakima Chief Hops this Saturday, May 7, from 12-9pm for a family-friendly, music, food, and beer filled celebration of Mango IPA, and to pay gratitude to the hard work and dedication of our local migrant community.

We brew this beer every year for a few reasons: first and foremost, it’s delicious! But, more importantly, we release this beer to raise funds and awareness for the migrant workers who harvest and process our hops year-after-year. With hops donated from Yakima Chief Hops, we donate 20% of the proceeds to local nonprofits that serve the migrant workers that make up the backbone of the Yakima Valley’s hop farming industry. We also aim for Sesiones Del Migrante to educate the larger craft beer community about the hard work and dedication that goes into every can of beer you crack open.

It's easy for us to say “we grow our beer”, and leave it at that – but the more in-depth explanation is that Loftus Ranches, our family’s 4th generation hop farm, grows the hops that are harvested and processed to eventually go into our beer. And not just our beer: we only use a tiny percentage of our farm’s hops, and Loftus Ranches is just one of many hop farms here in the Yakima Valley, where 75% of America’s hops are grown. A large majority of the craft beer you can enjoy anywhere in this country is derived from the hops grown and harvested right here in Hop Country, USA.

It’s hard to convey the amount of work that goes into this harvesting process: throughout harvest (which typically runs throughout the month of September), workers are in the fields for long hours, performing back breaking labor in challenging conditions. There’s work to be done in the growing season as well: have you ever noticed those tiny hop plants in April and May, twirling around lines of twine as they begin to grow? Every single hop plant needs to be trained to grow up the twine by the hands of a skilled worker. Hops, like all agriculture products, rely heavily on farm labor and field workers. There’s not enough local interest in signing up for this labor-intensive work here in the Valley, which is why migrant workers are such a core part of our local economy: with the assistance of the H-2A program, migrant farm workers from Mexico come to the Yakima Valley to fill the void in employment that the farms here face every year.

Says Victoria Garza, Yakima Chief Hops staff member and a founder member of the Sesiones Del Migrante collaboration, “With Sesiones del Migrante, we celebrate their hard work, sacrifice and dedication as they journey from Mexico to the Yakima Valley so that brewers globally will have the hops they need to make the best beer.”

So join us this Saturday to raise a glass in gratitude to the workers who harvest these hops year after year – we wouldn’t be able to enjoy delicious beer without them!

Posted May 04, 2022

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