The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Collaboration launched to create super-premium hops

A new joint venture has been launched in New Zealand which aims to develop unique super-premium hops.
Hāpi Research Ltd is a joint venture between Wellington craft brewer Garage Project and Freestyle Farms, a Nelson hop farm. While the program was initiated by Garage Project and Freestyle Farms, it is expected grow as more like-minded businesses and research partners join the industrywide efforts.

The craft beer and hop breeding program has seen Hāpi Research Ltd partner with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to deliver Hāpi – Brewing Success, a $13.25 million, 7-year Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) program.

“Our program will pursue research to enhance and differentiate super-premium hop and craft beer markets and boost the growth of both industries,” says Freestyle Farms director David Dunbar. “By collaborating across industries we’ll accelerate development of unique Kiwi hops, promote uniquely New Zealand craft beer, and open up new areas to hop growing.

“Our aspiration is to develop the resources and tools for domestic and export success along the lines of what our wine industry has achieved – elevating New Zealand craft beer to a sustainable global brand that commands premium pricing across all markets.”

Hop growing will be supported by research on new precision agriculture practices and processing methods, and licensing for the hops will be limited to New Zealand growers.

“We want to create a sustainable point of difference for New Zealand-grown hops and craft beer,” says Tom Greally, chief executive officer for Garage Project. “Through the program, we want to understand the unique chemical compounds of our hops that produce New Zealand flavours, and how to best accentuate them in finished beer.”

“The Hāpi – Brewing Success PGP program will create a cross-industry research and development program that’s commercially viable, sustainable in the long-term, with strong commercialisation pathways driven by the market,” adds MPI director-general Martyn Dunne. “The collaborative efforts will strongly support development of high-value, premium products from regional businesses.

“The Hāpi – Brewing Success PGP program will help growers and brewers to explore new possibilities for our hop growing and craft beer industries.”

By Charlie Whitting, Editor, Beer & Brewer