Vandals Cause $60,000 Worth of Damage to Dallas Hops Farm

The owner of an unusual business in Dallas found his hydroponic hops growing facility destroyed. He said vandals left behind an estimated $60,000 worth of damage.

"There's no recovering from this," said Corey Rickman, the owner of Dallas Hopworks. The company grows hops, which are a key ingredient used to brew beer.

Rickman discovered the damage when he opened on Monday and noticed an air conditioning unit damanged and dumped on the floor.

"They trashed the place, ripped out every single plant from every single basket," he said. "The roots of them have all dried out to the point where they're dead."

He said the vandals ripped lights out of the ceiling, threw tools in tanks of water and tore apart desks.

Rickman said Dallas Hopworks is one of about six hydroponic hops farms in the country. The operations can provide local brewers with fresh, wet hops year-round. It can be hard for smaller brewers to get wet hops, Rickman said, because the majority of hops in the United States are grown in Eastern Washington and are only harvested once a year. Hops begin to lose the oils that contribute to a beer's taste after 36 hours.

"We're able to get a much more flavorful beer," he said.

Rickman suspected the vandals might have mistakenly believed marijuana was being grown inside the building. Dallas Hopworks often leaves its garage door open during business hours, leading to questions from people passing by the business.

"One of the questions they always ask is, 'Where is there marijuana? Where are you growing it?' Rickman said, pointing out, "We don't."

Rickman estimated he had 4,000 hops plants in his facility, and each would have sold for around $10. He said local brewers have offered to help Dallas Hopworks clean up or create beers on their behalf.

"We love beer. We love the beer community. I can't say how great they've been through this entire thing," he said. "We're not going to give up. We're going to rebuild."

NBC 5's Jack Highberger contributed to this report.

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