City Workers Cut Down Philly Brewery's Hop Crop After Mistaking it for Weeds

The city crew thought the hop plants were overgrown weeds, a spokesperson said. The brewery owners say the mix-up may cost them tens of thousands of dollars

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A brewery in Philadelphia’s East Kensington neighborhood was outraged after they say a city crew cut down a legally-grown hop crop grown annually for a seasonal beer, according to KYW Newsradio.

The Philadelphia Brewing Company makes a beer called "Harvest From the Hood" every year. The brewery said the hops they grow in an adjacent 18-by-70-foot lot on Frankford Avenue are an essential ingredient in that beer.

The owner said a Community Life Improvement Programs (CLIP) crew that maintains vacant lots in the city destroyed the plants on Tuesday. The crew apparently thought the plants were overgrown weeds.

“We’ve been using this garden in partnership with the New Kensington [Community Development Corporation] for 10 years,” said Nancy Barton. She and her husband Bill Barton own the brewery. “They let us use the lot. We grow our hops that we use for 'Harvest From the Hood.'”

Hops before city maintenance Hops after city maintenance

Because all of the hops were destroyed, the brewery said the batch of that particular beer won't happen this year.

"The hops were doing so good. We were going to harvest them in a few weeks,” said Barton.

The owners said were extremely disappointed and don't understand how the garden was mistaken for out-of-control weeds. They said it will likely cost them tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.

"Regrettably, due to miscommunication and staff error, the hops were removed as they were initially marked as a violation as it appeared the lot was overgrown. We are reaching out to Philadelphia Brewing and NKCDC to explain the situation, apologize and explore what we can do to rectify this situation," a city spokesperson said.

The city said they were speaking with staff to ensure "proper procedures are followed in the future."

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