We have completed the 2022 hop harvest, picking 810 hectares across our three farms, which resulted in 1,656 metric tonnes of hops. This was a 135 hectare (20.1%) net increase and a 130 metric tonnes (8.4%) net increase year-on-year across six proprietary varieties – Eclipse®, Ella™, Enigma®, Galaxy®, Topaz™ and Vic Secret™ – as well as Cascade. Plus, impact in beer is expected to remain strong, with oil content equal or above the 5-year average for all varieties.
This year’s harvest marked a significant milestone, with the completion of a $35 million capital expansion project that involved planting 300 new hectares of in-demand Aussie flavour hops like Eclipse®, Galaxy® and Vic Secret™ as well as constructing a new processing facility. This increased capacity allowed us to process all hops in a timely fashion, as well as creating more chances for employment, skills development and priority purchasing of local products and services in our growing region.
Our focus now shifts to maximising the productivity of these new hop gardens. The increase in acreage has not yet resulted in a relative increase in production volume, with the new plantings scheduled to reach commercial maturity by 2024. At this point Eclipse® is forecast to reach 180 metric tonnes, making it our third biggest proprietary hop.
Aussie hops continue to enjoy strong demand from brewers everywhere, which means crop 2022 is heavily contracted. The importance we place on responsible contracting will allow us to meet all commitments, with a very limited amount of hops available on the spot market. Brewers are encouraged to communicate their Aussie hop requirements to our sales team, and enter into rolling forward contracts for supply security.