Hop Products Australia (HPA) have completed the 2023 hop harvest. We picked 847 hectares across Victoria and Tasmania, which resulted in 1,821 tonnes of hops. This was a 37 hectare (4.5%) net increase and a 164 tonne (9.9%) net increase year-on-year across six proprietary varieties – Eclipse®, Ella™, Enigma®, Galaxy®, Topaz™ and Vic Secret™ – as well as Cascade. This year’s oil content came in equal or above the 5-year average for all proprietary hops, with a particularly strong showing from Eclipse® that should lead to an exceptional year of performance in beer.
The final hectares of our recent Victorian expansion are now reaching commercial maturity, but some plants were significantly impacted by a third consecutive La Niña weather pattern.. Despite the adverse conditions we were able to modify our calendar of inputs accordingly, with above average temperatures and below average rainfall in summer aiding cone maturation.
A portion of this year’s crop will be reserved for commissioning our new production facility in Victoria. The modern temperature-controlled pellet plant and form, fill and seal packaging line will produce in excess of 50 tonnes of pellets per day, which will allow us to double our current processing capacity while retaining a higher percentage of essential oils in the finished pellets at a lower average Hop Storage Index (HSI). This means brewers can expect an overall increase in quality and a reduced spread of analytical data across lots, which will translate to more consistent performance in beer.
HPA is focussed on a sustainable future of quality beer, completing the initial Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of our business to identify key areas and realistic targets to support the implementation of low emission practices that will improve our brewing customers indirect emissions moving forward.
Even though the hop and brewing world seems to be going through a realignment of supply and demand, the outlook for Aussie hops remains strong and crop 2023 is heavily contracted. Brewers are encouraged to proactively communicate their Aussie hop requirements to our sales team, and enter into rolling forward contracts for supply security.