GORHAM, Maine (AP) — Hop growers are looking to new places to grow the crop, which is facing an unprecedented demand in the face of the county's growing thirst for hoppy beer.

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant. They are used to provide bitterness, aroma and flavor to beer. In the U.S., the vast majority are grown in Washington state, with significant numbers grown in Oregon and Idaho. The demand for hops is high, in part because of America's obsession with India pale ales, which use large amounts.

Prices have also been high in recent years, even as the total amount of hop acreage hits record highs. Hop growers in states like Michigan, New York and Maine are starting to ramp up production. The growth dovetails with craft beer's passion for using local ingredients.

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