New Zealand hop growers investing $20m in the expanding industry

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Kiwi hop growers are expected to invest $20m into an expanding industry in the next three years, as it responds to surging global demand for craft beer ingredients.

The growth of craft beer has transformed the niche industry, which has 19 New Zealand growers.

Last year, trade reportedly delivered around $20m a year in turnover and $14m a year in export returns.

The grower-owned cooperative harvested about 750 tonnes from 389 hectares in 2015.

About 85 per cent of the hops, which are largely grown in the Motueka and Riwaka areas west of Nelson, are exported. (full story)

Craft brewing transforms NZ hop industry

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Fourth generation Nelson grower Brent McGlashen of Mac Hops says the industry is unrecognisable from 10 years ago.

“We had only a handful of customers, now it’s in the hundreds which has really helped because things weren’t looking too good. Hops were a commodity where the big brewers thought they could turn up and offer a price – that’s changed around,” McGlashen said.

Fourth generation Nelson grower Brent McGlashen of Mac Hops says the industry is unrecognisable from 10 years ago.

“We had only a handful of customers, now it’s in the hundreds which has really helped because things weren’t looking too good. Hops were a commodity where the big brewers thought they could turn up and offer a price – that’s changed around,” McGlashen said. (full story)

Coming Soon… New Zealand Hop Harvest 2015

This week I headed to Nelson (with a bunch of other brewers from around New Zealand) for the day (and night) for a visit to “The Hop Lab” at Plant & Food Research in Motueka. The focus was on the new 50 litre trial brew plant (manufactured by Chris Little Engineering) which is now being used to brew beers with the trial hop varieties to see if they show promise for brewing.

It was a good time of year to do this, as it is a week before the New Zealand Hop harvest begins. The plants have hops on them, the hop growers aren’t too busy to be able to spend the afternoon with the brewers.

I look forward to this becoming an annual event for the brewers and hop growers to catch up and have a chat over a beer. (without the full-page release form having to be signed to taste 90 mls)

Below is a photo gallery showing a bit of what happened. It’s a lot of hop photo, but that’s what I’m into.