Local Homebrew Club Offers Free Hops Seminar


The Shiawassee County Area Brewers Society would like to invite all interested parties to a PowerPoint presentation from the principle investors from Plant-It Earth, LLC , on the formation of their company; it’s purpose; the barriers to entry; what they have learned and the future of Michigan hops in general. The presenters for the evening will be the four principle officers from Plant-It Earth, LLC; Barbara Bialko, Linda Dickinson, William Potter and Jonathan Dickinson.
The seminar will take place February 16, 2012 at 7 pm at the Wrought Iron Gill in Owosso. The event is free to the public but maximum capacity will be limited to 80 including club members and honored guests. RSVP is suggested and encouraged to WIG Owner, John Lowman @ 989.472.9025.

“We are honored to have Plant-It Earth speak to our club this month. Since February is part of our membership drive, we wanted to open this event to the public so they can learn about one of the primary flavor ingredients used in the brewing process” said club Vice President Mike Espich. “Our objective is to pool the resources and knowledge of home-brewers to improve our craft and love of great beer, and inviting those who want to learn the art of home brewing.” Established in October of 2008, SCABS (Shiawassee County Area Brewers Society) has grown it’s membership from the surrounding area of Owosso, MI to now include members from the central Michigan area’s of Flint, Flushing, Grand Blanc, as well as Saginaw and beyond.

Plant-It Earth, LLC, was established in 2010 and is located in Mason, Michigan. The company grew out of a desire to:
– Develop a sustainable agricultural business in Michigan
– Create partnerships with other Michigan businesses
– Fill the need for locally grown hops to supply the rapidly growing microbrewery business

It’s Mission Statement is to supply Midwest brewers with locally grown products by creating agricultural and business partnerships. To that end in 2010, the company planted approximately 2/3 acre of 5 hop varieties: Centennial, Cascade, Willamette, Nugget and Chinook and in 2011 added a drip irrigation system. The growing of hops is a bit more time consuming than that of a typical agricultural plant. It requires installing 24 foot poles which are set four feet deep in the hop yard and then stringing cables between the poles. For each single plant, strings are secured from the ground to the cables above, as hops will grow as much as an inch a day to heights in excess of 20 feet. In the late summer and early fall, the crop is hand harvested taking an hour or more per plant to pick. At maturity, the plant has an approximate 10 day window to be picked. Hops are a rhizome plant that expand, coming back each Spring with increased production potential from year to year.

Currently Plant-it Earth supplies their hops to a local home brewing supply company with plans to increase hops acreage to 10-20 acres within the next 5 years. All this while continuing to form relationships for sales to home brewers, brewing suppliers, as well as microbreweries and brewpubs. Plant-It Earth, LC, is owned by Barbara Bialko, CEO, and Linda Dickinson, President. The leadership team includes William Potter, Vice President, Operations, and Jonathan Dickinson, Vice President, Sales & Marketing.

Barb Bialko graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Finance and obtained a law degree from University of Toledo. Barb has a long history in agricultural markets, beginning with growing up on a farm in Southeastern Michigan.

Linda Dickinson graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Nursing and currently manages and directs a team of health care professionals in the managed care industry.

Bill Potter graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Agricultural Engineering and spent the majority of his career owning and operating a Civil Engineering Firm in Mid-Michigan.

Jon Dickinson has deep agricultural roots, dating back to his childhood. His professional career has been spent in Sales & Marketing in a variety of markets, which led to his current position of Director of Aftermarket Sales for a multimillion dollar sales division within a Mid-Michigan company.