The Newest Taste Innovation for Beer Lovers
    Mad Hops

    Mad Hops comes in multiple flavors

    Perhaps there has been no greater trending growth in recent years than in the beer industry—especially regarding microbrews and craft beers. Microbrew restaurants, bars, and pubs appear to be constantly opening in neighborhoods, and the amount of craft beers available has expanded exponentially to an almost overwhelming selection. Just when it seemed that nothing new and unique could possibly be added to the beer industry, Mad Hops did exactly that by creating and offering its Flavored Beer Drops. Native Pittsburgher and new resident of the Strip District, Bill Jackson, has been an integral force with the business planning, marketing, and strategy for Mad Hops.

    Mad Hops was founded by Peter Hanley, a part-time hops farmer who started selling his locally grown hops to upstate New York’s craft brewers. In doing this, he learned a great deal about how craft beer is brewed and the role hops play in making great-tasting beer. During this time, his “millennial” children would visit and drink his “good” craft beer, only to then return home and drink their “cheap stuff.” This got him thinking, “Could I enhance normal, everyday beer and give it a better taste to beer drinkers on a budget?” His ultimate answer to that question was the inception of Mad Hops Flavored Beer Drops.

    Mad Hops business planner and strategist Bill Jackson.

    Mad Hops business planner and strategist Bill Jackson.

    According to Jackson, Hanley’s good friend for almost 40 years and Mad Hops Advisory Board member, it took three years to perfect “stove top” recipes for beer enhancement and then to transform those recipes into something that could be mass produced in an FDA-approved co-packer. “Mad Hops Flavored Beer Drops were introduced to the public about 18 months ago and we have been growing the company ever since. Along the way, we found another very important group that is also looking for more flavor in their beer—light beer drinkers,” he adds. Since light beer makes up over 50 percent of the U.S. beer market, and the single largest selling light beer is Bud Light, Mad Hops is the solution to give a variety of taste to boring light beers while adding only five calories per 12-ounce beer!

    Mad Hops has a diverse line of beer flavor enhancers that transform everyday domestic beer into a craft-like experience. From fruit flavors like Belgian Orange, Wild Blueberry, Mexican Lime, and Apple Amber to craft flavors like Irish Porter, Cherry Wheat, Pale Ale, and the new Northwest IPA enhancer—the product is made using all-natural “craft beer” ingredients including hop oils, malt extracts, bittering agents, and natural flavors/colors to transform the color, aroma, and taste of everyday beer. Each 1-ounce bottle of Mad Hops will flavor 18 12-ounce beers and the 12-ounce bar package will flavor an entire half-keg. “We’ve recently introduced a method for bar owners to infuse an entire keg with flavor, transforming an everyday domestic keg into a ‘house brand’ light craft beer,” says Jackson.

    Mad Hops Flavored Beer Drops offer the best characteristics of both beer worlds. For light beer drinkers, Mad Hops adds just five calories and one gram of carbs—so instead of that 190-calorie IPA, you can drink an IPA-flavored Miller Lite with only 100 calories.

    For beer drinkers on a budget, instead of buying a $14 six-pack of some national-brand pale ale, you can instead buy a $20 30-pack of PBR and add only 30 cents per beer to get that same great taste.

    Jackson has been an advisor to the company for about two years. After growing up here in the city and graduating from the University of Pittsburgh engineering program in 1981, Jackson moved out of the area. A little over a year ago, he came back to Pittsburgh and has become more involved with Mad Hops, including helping define the “go to” market plans for the bar side of the business and conceptualizing an easy-to-use infusion device for kegs.

    Upon his return “home,” the growth, commercialization, and residential expansion of the Strip District was immediately noticed and appreciated by Jackson. “What impressed me the most about Pittsburgh when I returned was the amazing transformation of the Strip District. When I was younger, the only reason that someone who didn’t work there would visit the Strip was to come to Primanti’s at 2:00 a.m. when the bars closed. Today people actually live here!”

    After a fairly exhaustive search for a place to call home, Jackson settled at the Cork Factory in the Strip—and so far he loves it. “It’s not something that I would have even thought possible in the 1980s, but the mix of new construction like The Edge and Yards along with the redevelopment of buildings like those of Otto Milk, Phoenix Brewing, and Armstrong Cork Factory make the Strip District a unique and fascinating place to live.”

    For more information and to get a taste of this innovative product, Mad Hops Flavored Beer Drops can be ordered online at: and

    Christopher Cussat is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer who enjoys imbibing an occasional beer. Read more of his writing at