The NOSB voted to require that all hops used in organic beer production must be organic. Previously, organic hops have been exempted from certified organic beer because they were not considered "commercially available." When the NOSB deems an organic ingredient too hard to get, it can waive it for producers and still allow them to display the USDA’s certified organic label. The non-organic ingredients have to be less than 5 percent of the product’s total weight, excluding water (the other main ingredient -barley - has to be organic because it’s the bulk of the product’s weight).
The NOSB is recommending that hops remain listed until 2013 to give brewers two seasons to secure contracts for organic hops. According to NOSB’s document, “This time interval formally recognizes the growth of organic hops’ availability and yet allows brewers two growing seasons to secure their organic hops through forward contracting, making adjustments to future product formulations and specifications, and preparing their customers and consumers for the product changes anticipated, if any.” For more information, read Beyond Pesticides's full analysis in a October 20, 2010 Daily News Blog post.
Read the NOSB Handling Committee's Response to the Petition to remove Hops from the National List (October 8, 2010)