The Yakima Chief Hops story continues to grow, and it’s been a fun one to watch. The grower-owned hop supplier is a global name today. You only have to see this just finished state-of-the-art cold storage warehouse in Belgium to be impressed by its progress, or maybe take a peek at its latest cutting-edge products from frozen fresh hops to water-soluble CBD distillate. It didn’t always look so realized. The company’s success has been quite a journey, and I highly suggest you listen to this Hop & Brew School Podcast about the history of Hopunion and Yakima Chief Hops.
Now there’s more! Yakima Chief Hops just completed the installment of a CO2 recovery system within its extract production facility to reduce its environmental impact. That is very cool. Maybe cooler: In November, the company announced it was building a second CO2 extract facility in Sunnyside, Wash. Roll the film!
Wowsers. Obviously, one of the products that Yakima Chief Hops offers is CO2 hop extract, and that’s produced using a supercritical CO2 process which extracts soft resins and essential oils contained in hops. The extraction process, however, requires large volumes of CO2.
Collaborating with breweries that utilize CO2 recovery systems (we’ve written about a few), Yakima Chief Hops worked to discover how it would translate into the complex extraction process. They partnered with ICC and Hypro to engineer, design and implement a customized system. This required months of troubleshooting and working with engineers to improve efficiency. YCH is now able to recover, clean and reuse much of the CO2 used to produce hop extract. From the press release:
“Currently we are capturing more than five metric tons a day of CO2 and redirecting the CO2 liquid back into our extraction system for further use,” said Levi Wyatt, YCH’s Social Corporate Responsibility Coordinator. “This reduces the amount of CO2 emissions from our extract facility by greater than 50%.”
Yakima Chief Hops makes a point of balancing purpose and profit. Just read its Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2020. Operating for more than 30 years, Yakima Chief Hops now includes 15 hop growers, impressive products and services and amazing facilities all over the world. I hope to tell you about its next chapter very soon.