The hop plant is a herbaceous, dioecious (ie. separate male and female plants), long-lived perennial in which the female flowers are used as a preservative, flavoring, and bittering agent in beer.  In the United States, hops are commercially produced primarily in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho although with the growth of the craft beer industry pockets of hop production have sprung up in other states. Hops production is a specialized endeavor which requires substantial infrastructure and involves considerable labor for production.  This section provides some basic information and answers to commonly asked questions.