About 24 hours after Keith Luce funded his project through Kickstarter for a meat curing house on Love Lane in Mattituck, Wading River hop farmer John Condzella surpassed his .
The machine – called "The Wolf" – will allow both his farm on Route 25A, as well as other hop farmers on Long Island, to harvest one of the main ingredients for beer at a much faster rate, leading to better and fresher use for a blossoming microbrew industry (one of which was funded through a Kickstarter campaign of its own).
Several Long Island breweries have used Condzella's hops, including Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Long Ireland Beer Company, Port Jeff Brewing Company, Rocky Point Artisan Brewers and more.
"I just wish we could get more," said Port Jeff Brewing Company owner Mike Philbrick last month. Philbrick said he gets most of his hops from Germany or Washington State. "Everyone likes drinking local beer, but ingredients for the beer come from all over the world."
Condzella said that due to the extensive time it can take to hand-pick hops – about an hour per plant – and the number of plants grown (about 1,000) he ended up throwing out hundreds of dollars in crops last year. The Wolf, which can process an acre of hops in an eight-hour work day, would drastically change that.
Additional funds beyond the $27,000 would go toward converting the electrical system on the machine, or if much more is raised, possibly creating a hop alliance with other growers, Condzella said.