Our story begins in a small German village, Hamburg (Iowa) with a long history in the beer industry (beer drinking). Two farm boys, JQ Watton and Patrick Gude, grew up down the street from one another, excelled in grade school recess, mastered high school gym class, graduated from Iowa State with social honors, and then parted ways. Patrick became a chemical sales manager and Colonel JQ went on to defend our country as an Air force F-16 fighter pilot. After years of separate world-wide adventures and raising families, they discovered each other living in Kansas City. We added a third partner last year, Dr. Jeff Emory, to bring another dimension to our cast of characters.
The Royal Hops variety, also has a rich past. The Weston Brewery (formally Royal Brewing Co.) was one of the oldest breweries in the Kansas City area. During the 1800’s, Weston, MO, had a well known reputation for brewing beer, distilling liquor, growing hemp and tobacco. Folklore tells us, they also grew hops. As the story goes, the brewery closed in 1870 during the post Civil War Depression. The neglected hops began to grow wild in the Loess Hills along the Missouri River. That's where the Royal Hops Co. story begins..........
With the discovery of the wild hops in 1988 and the re-discovery of each other in 2011, the idea to start a hops yard was born. We figured if hops can grow in the wild for over 135 years, two Iowa farm boys should be able to grow varietal hops in this unpredictable Midwest climate. So began The Royal Hops Co. and our quest to provide fresh, local hops to the ever-growing regional craft brewers. We are currently growing 10 varieties of hops; with plans to expand our acreage and selection in the near future.
We strive to produce the highest quality, premium hops, while always remaining fresh and local.