Brewers Supply Group (BSG) has made a significant investment in a new hop processing facility in the Yakima valley area of Washington. This new facility means that BSG has complete control of the entire supply chain from bale receipt and storage to shipping of finished goods in one location.
“Construction on the new facility began in early 2014 and is now complete. Feedback from visiting brewers during selection was extremely positive. Brewers are excited about what we’re doing here,” says Shane Dale, director of hop operations. Hop processing in the new facility began this past month.
The new hop processing facility features a sealed/clean system; once the bales go into the bale-breaker, the system is completely closed all the way through to the inert atmosphere packaging. Along with this, the production room is secure, floors are sealed/polished for a clean environment, and interior walls are lined with metal panels. The entire processing facility, including all equipment selections, was designed with a focus on a total ‘Food Grade’ environment.
This brand new, state-of-the-art equipment and environment ensures that quality and care is built into all hops coming from the facility. On pellet quality, the system is designed to maintain a constant and level feed to the pellet mill with no interruptions, allowing the pellet temperature and pellet density to be controlled with minimal fluctuation. This new technology and equipment allows the mill’s internal components to be adjusted on the fly, allowing fine-tuning of the pellet density without shutting down. Constant real time temperature monitoring and automatic application of cooling will limit pellet temperature to ensure preservation of hop aroma.
Atmospheric controls within packaging are ensured by real-time monitoring of the residual oxygen in the packaging machine that will automatically adjust the nitrogen volume to meet designated residual limits and ensure that every single package contains minimal residual oxygen. New packaging is also part of the plan, hitting commercial breweries and homebrew retail shops sometime in early 2015.
The 10-and-a-half-acre site offers space for continued expansion for both warehousing and additional processing capabilities for BSG Hops.
“Over the last 10 years, BSG has put a premium on working with the best growers, monitoring the quality of processing, and providing the logistics to deliver hops at their best state to craft brewers and homebrewers around the U.S. Bringing the processing under our control continues this commitment and further strengthens our supply chain, quality assurance and service to our customers. They want the best hops, and we aim to deliver that,” said Ian Ward, president of BSG.