Tag Archives: yakima

New Partnership with US Based Yakima Chief Hops

We have some great news for what has been a very strange year so far – we have recently partnered as a product distributor for the UK with Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) of Yakima, Washington in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

A 100% farmer owned global hop supplier, Yakima Chief Hops has served the global brewing industry for more than 30 years. Their mission is to foster connections between multi-generational family hop farms and the world’s finest brewers, which meant a synergy was found with us as an independent hop farm ourselves.

Owned by 15 hop growers from across the Pacific Northwest, YCH is uniquely positioned to tell the stories of where great beer begins. With a company rooted in family farming, YCH not only values quality and transparency, but also innovation and sustainability.

Sebastian Nielsen, our Sales & Marketing Director is delighted with the new partnership: “Partnering with YCH is another big milestone in the growth of our business. They visited our farm a couple of years ago and inspired us with best practice around hop growing, storage and processing. We share the same values around quality and maintaining close relationships directly with brewers, so it is a perfect match that will benefit our customers greatly.”

Despite recent set-backs due to Covid-19 instigated pub closures across the world, the craft brewing industry continues to expand and YCH reached out due to its desire to remain committed to forming strategic partnerships with approved distributors. They noted that the UK & Ireland in particular had experienced significant growth in the craft beer community, counting more than 2000 breweries in the region.

Maria Skalli, European Distributor Accounts Manager at YCH notes “At YCH, we value the opportunity to connect with distributors and breweries of all sizes, no matter where they are in the world. Local distributors are particularly well-equipped to work alongside our regional sales managers, to help us reach and satisfy the needs of breweries of all sizes and needs across the world.”

As well as Brook House Hops in the UK, Loughran Brewing Stores Ltd in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have also come on board, with the plan to better serve local customers across the whole of Europe.

Skalli continues “Our local YCH team members Katie Richardson and Jason Little are looking forward to working with Brook House Hops and Loughran Brewing Stores. We are excited to find synergies with these distributors to ensure that our brewing customers are happy with the solutions we offer.”

By working with local distributors across The Pond, YCH can offer a variety of options to craft breweries big and small, to get the best hops into their beer – these partnerships also create value for brewing customers as they allow for more flexible delivery sizes, access to local YCH inventory and improved delivery times.

With our existing Herefordshire and Worcestershire farms bringing brewers an incredible portfolio of UK hops, we are thrilled to be able to level up our US hop offering too. Using state of the art modern local refrigerated warehouses, we can deliver products to exacting standards with quick turnaround times, things which are important to both our ethos and that of YCH.

We also supply a wide range of additional brewing ingredients, providing brewers with the convenience to purchase all their supplies from one place, cementing our tempting offering for brewers across the continent. Both us and Loughran Brewing Stores operate family farms of their own, which means we share a unique passion with YCH for growing quality ingredients, knowing that great beer starts in the field.

Visit our homepage to check out our range of hops, malt and yeast today.

Yakima Valley Research Visit – November 2019

Several members of the Brook House Hops team spent a few weeks on the road in the US during November. We try really hard to differentiate on quality, which means we buy hops pelletised at the source in Yakima and invest in selection. Hopefully this means that our customers can brew tasty, fresh beer. We also use the opportunity to talk to growers in the US about changes in best agrononmic practice: how they grow their hops to maximise aroma.

Flying in to Washington State

The trip also took in a number of customers and potential customers in all parts of the US: we visited craft breweries producing under 1,000 barrels per year, up to over 500,000. Some were long-established, others hadn’t yet started brewing.  Some were fiercely independent – others were using the distribution and financial firepower of bigger brewing groups to get their beer into the hands of more people. They were united by a love for beer, and, most importantly, for good beer. We were honoured to get time with some of the most exciting brewers in the business.

Entering Yakima Valley

So what did we learn about?

Firstly, NEIPAs (New England IPAs) are certainly still being brewed, but they are perhaps no longer seen as the new-new thing. Instead brewers are moving a bit back to the west. They are still doing a lot of dry hopping, but this is complemented by some bitterness early-on in the boil – not to proper San-Diego levels – but the beers have more of a kick than recent juice bombs.

Other styles which are increasing in popularity include sours, low calorie beer and low alcohol beers. All of these are trends are also travelling across the Atlantic. One difference in the US is the increasing popularity of hard-seltzers. These aren’t strictly beer – defined as simply ‘carbonated alcoholic beverages’ – but several of the brewers we met are seeing a lot of growth in this category.

Brewers are also trying to broaden the range of hops which they use. Citra and Mosaic remain the mainstays of IPAs, but brewers are experimenting more and more with newer hops such as Strata, Sabro and Idaho 7, as well as slightly longer-established varieties like Cashmere, Vic Secret and El Dorado. There was a bit of nervousness about access – several of these hops are proprietary.

What does this mean for UK hop demand?

There are two big sources of demand which we saw. Firstly brewers are producing more and more beers in a year, in more and more styles. Seasonal, Christmas, English-style ales are certainly a thing and seem to be a way that the passing of the seasons are marked in more northern states.

Secondly, several brewers are trying to differentiate their core IPAs / DIPAs with the addition of UK hops. This is for a warm aftertaste to linger after the initial hit from new world hops. Several brewers are also experimenting with new hops such as Jester and Olicana – newer hops from the public program such as Endeavour and Ernest don’t seem to have travelled as far.

All in all it was an informative visit and one we really enjoyed! We had some great beers at Single Hill Brewing and took in the culture and spirit. We love getting out there and meeting hop farmers around the world and learning about the trends in the worldwide brewing industry. Even though the harvest had been and gone, the land was vast and beautiful in a very peaceful way.

Single Hill Brewing

Single Hill Brewing