Welcome to Freshops, where hops and home brewing collide in the most epic way possible! Dave Wills, founder, is a whole flower, hop-loving brew enthusiast who has been dedicated for over 40 years to providing you with the freshest and most flavorful hops to make your beer brews truly stand out.
The Original Inspiration For Freshops
Dave’s story dates back to the wild, wild west of beer brewing when he first discovered his love of great-tasting beer during a post-junior college adventure in Europe. Drinking freshly brewed beer right at the source changed his view on what savory suds should be!
Upon his return, Dave moved to Oregon and attended Oregon State University, earning a degree in General Agriculture. Remembering the great flavors of European beers, he knew he wanted to make his own. However, the only place to buy supplies was at a local mart.
His early brews came out less than okay with the stale, yellow, straw-like hops sold at the store. Then, during a homebrew class held at a local health food store, he discovered what fresh hops looked like – green, plump, and full of wonderful aromas.
Noticing the growing trend of people like him who wanted to make their own beers but didn’t have access to fresh hops, Dave decided to fill the gap. Dave had the vision to provide craft and home brewers with the best possible ingredients – fresh, locally grown hops from the Pacific Northwest.
His first stop was the USDA Agriculture Research department in Corvallis, which focuses on hop cultivars. His contact connected him with local farmers. This led Dave to work on an Oregon farm, learning all the aspects of growing and harvesting hops. He ended the summer of 1982 with a truckload of fresh whole-flower hops and rhizomes to sell. And thus, Freshops was born!
Oregon Trail Brewery
Meanwhile, buddies from his local brewer’s group, Jerry and Nancy Shadomy, in 1987 opened the doors to Oregon Trail Brewery (aka OTB). Always one to help others out, Dave was an early investor and pioneer as it was the fourth brewery in Oregon since Prohibition (and, for years, the only one in Corvallis). Fast forward to 1993, when our fearless leader took over the brewery and helped steer it through the rapidly changing craft brewing scene.
Dave enjoyed brewing and selling award-winning beer for the past 30 years, finally turning the business over to brothers J.D. – a former OTB Brewer, and Waylon Pickett in 2021. As an instigator of getting people to create new things out of old, Dave took the old OTB kegs and gave them a new life as custom-created lamps through a partnership with local artist Jordan Lucas. Get one of these treasures available through KegLights.com.
Pick Up Hops At Dave’s!
If you pick up your order at Dave’s place, you’ll get a glimpse into his passions. He still makes his own beers, enjoys sharing “mystery brew” tastings with visitors, sells Christmas trees in his hometown in California, and is putting the finishing touches on his “rammed earth” home.
Over the years, Freshops has been a part of countless brewing adventures, from providing hops to small-scale home brewers to supporting established craft breweries. So, whether you’re a seasoned brewer or just getting started, Freshops has got your back. Our hops are hand-picked, carefully processed, and packed with flavor to ensure that every brew you make is the best it can be. So, let’s raise a glass and cheers to hops, craft brewing, and all the good times that come with it!
Hop 2 it!
Dave knows quite a lot and keeps up to date on the hop news. Check out Dave and Freshops in the news! If you’d like to interview Dave, or ask him questions – drop a line via the Contact page.
VIDEO: Oregon State University, Voices of Northwest Brewing; Dave Wills Oral History Interview
Hop To It- Oregon Researchers Seek To Produce New Varieties Of Hops
Blue Ridge Now Times & News: Small Brewers Become Hop Farmers Amid Shortage
The Press Democrat “Garden Doctors: Hop Vines Can Thrive, But Beware Of Deer”
Serious Eats “Homebrewing: Getting the Most Out of Hops”
MarketWatch “Opinion: Why yeast is craft beer’s ‘God particle’”
PIVO.BY (Russian beer site) “Triumph – A New Variety Of Hops”
Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives -Collection Report: Oregon Trail Brewery Records, 1951-2020
Best Things Oregon: Oregon Trail Brewery
Oregon Leads In Brewing Professionals: Resources Plentiful, Home Brewers Go Pro
Past, Future, Tradition, Invention: The Old World Deli Center Is A Corvallis Institution
Portland Beer: South of Portland Oregon Trail Brewery in Corvallis
The Brewsite: Oregon Trail Brewery
BeerSmith Podcast; Engineering Hop Varieties
Dave Wills and his Christmas tree lot in California
‘Good trees, good prices, good friendships:’ Santa Paula Christmas tree lot at 40 years
Making Spirits Bright In COVID-19 Era; Ventura County Christmas Tree Lot Keeps Traditions Alive
The Spirit of Christmas in Santa Paula
Jules Smith’s Outdoor Art Exhibit To Honor Heroes
Rammed Earth Home
Benton’s First Rammed Earth House
Philomath Man Building Dream Home With Rammed Earth
A Rammed Earth Home Dream Come True
Rammed Earth Dream Home in Oregon