The hop plant originated in China, but it was the Germans – way back in the 11th century – who first discovered the crop’s potential as an ingredient for beer, and they’ve been at it ever since.
Holland was an early adopter of hops too. In fact, it was the Dutch who first imported hops to Britain at the start of the 15th Century. The British authorities were suspicious of the new crop, labelling it a “wicked and pernicious weed” and, in Norwich it was banned altogether for the production of ale.
But they soon caught on.
Kent, just southeast of London, became an important area for hop growing and later, a major source of employment. Entire families from the poorest parts of London would come down on special trains to live and work in the area for the month of harvest.
It was a Kent farmer, William Shoobridge who introduced hops to Australia in 1822. His son, Ebenezer established the Bushy Park plantation in Tasmania, which today is owned and operated by HPA.
Hops are now grown in more than 20 countries with approximately 120 varieties used in brewing across the globe.