THE Herald has had the privilege of planting the first ‘fuggles’ hop plant in the Hogs Back Brewery’s new eight-and-a-half-acre hop garden in Tongham.

It comes as the brewery sets out to share the fruits of its labour with all the people who have supported Hogs Back over the years with a new Adopt A Hop scheme.

Selected residents, charities and businesses are being invited to plant their own hop in the brewer’s new hop garden and get involved in helping it flourish from now until harvest next September.

The new garden, found in a prime location next to the brewery at Manor Farm, is more than double the size of its existing site.

Hogs Back is currently moving the 2,500 hop plants from the old site to the new one, where they will be planted and supported by posts, poles and several miles of wire. New hops will follow in the coming months.

When mature, the new garden will provide 50 per cent of Hogs Back’s total hop requirements.

Everyone involved in the Adopt A Hop scheme will receive a certificate and the chance to help at key stages in its growth, such as twiddling the bines and cutting the hop shoots in the spring, and bringing in the harvest in the summer.

Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said Hogs Back’s success is thanks in large part to the support of local pubs and shops, customers, and its own Tongham TEA Club.

“So when we decided to move and expand the hop garden we wanted to thank the local community and give them a chance to share in our hop-growing journey in the future,” he added.