Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) recently exported the largest shipment of freshly harvested hops from the Pacific Northwest to South Korea in just one day for the first time in brewing history. The hops were used to brew fresh hop ales by three Seoul breweries and were released last month.
Because Fresh Hops are a highly perishable product that must be delivered from bine to brewer in 36 hours, they are typically purchased by breweries located closer to the source, which are the hop farms of the Pacific Northwest where 75% of the nation’s hops are grown. Even American breweries face logistical challenges such as timing and brewing schedule coordination, making fresh hop ales a difficult beer to brew and a highly sought-after style.
That didn’t stop Yakima Chief Hops. Thanks to the YCH sales and logistics staff, the Washington State Department of Agriculture International Marketing team and Plant Services Program; Korean distributor, Brew Source International; and hop breeding partner, Yakima Chief Ranches, 720 pounds of Mosaic® and Ahtanum® brand Fresh Hops were successfully delivered to South Korea in one day.
The Fresh Hops traveled 5,345 miles to Seoul Brewery, Amazing Brewery and Playground Brewery, undergoing export inspections and adhering to strict customs requirements.
Providing brewers on the other side of the globe with access to hops in their purest form is a huge milestone for the industry. With a mission to connect brewers worldwide with multi-generational family farms, YCH is focused on building strategic partnerships to increase the accessibility of hops for brewers everywhere.
“When Jim Lambert, YCH Asia Sales Representative, originally proposed the idea, I really felt the energy,” says Tyler Shearn, Import Export Manager at Yakima Chief Hops. “It proved to be quite challenging, requiring months of preparation, attention to detail, and collaboration. At YCH, we’re encouraged to look past challenges and put that first foot forward towards progress and continuous improvement.”