RipeLocker is a postharvest low-pressure vacuum technology, that we’ve previously written about, that is trying to do the lord’s work and extend the availability of “fresh” hops for breweries. RipeLocker has facilitated the distribution of almost 5,000 lbs of fresh hops this year alone, up from last year’s 2,000 lbs.
The extended brewing period for fresh hop beers is made possible by growers preserving their harvest in RipeLockers, allowing craft micro-breweries to purchase quality fresh hops even beyond the traditional harvest season.
The impact of RipeLocker’s technology gained momentum as Oasis Fresh Hop Farms in Washington stored and sent out an impressive 4,134 lbs of fresh hops across the continent US with over 50% going to Tree House Brewery, Co. in Massachusetts, while Mill 95 Farms in Idaho sent another 800 lbs.
“Traditionally Oasis Fresh Hop Farms sells dried hops to Yakima Chief directly, but with our recent partnership with RipeLocker, we’ve been able to sell superior quality hops directly to brewers across the US,” says Tyler Sabin, Hops Manager, Oasis Fresh Hop Farms. “Our crew loves loading the hops into the chamber and getting to pick exactly which field gets chosen. Knowing we are putting a top quality, perfectly fresh product out to brewers that will last up to 60 days helps us financially as a farm and provides the best-of-the-best product without the hassle,”
Tyler also explains that “being located on the far edge of the Yakima Valley, meeting with brewers to provide them with fresh hops has always been a challenge, but with RipeLockers we can hold varieties in our cooler and have them available either by pick-up here at the farm or to be trucked out the day the brewer wants them.
“We’ve also had great success with larger brewers helping us distribute lockers to their neighbors who didn’t have enough refrigeration space for a full pallet,” he says. “Overall, we simply wouldn’t be selling fresh hops at all if it weren’t for the innovative storage technology RipeLocker provides.”
RipeLocker has expanded the capabilities of Mill 95 to offer Idaho fresh hops to breweries across the U.S. and internationally, reports Amaya Aguirre-Landa, Marketing & Communications Manager, Mill 95. Previously, the lack of appropriate transportation options paired with the volatility of fresh hops limited the ability to get high-quality fresh hops to breweries outside of the 5-hour radius of the Idaho hop-growing region. .
Breweries benefitting from this technology now include Ghostfish Brewing, Jellyfish Brewing, Coronado Brewing, Harland Brewing, Roadhouse Brewing Company, and HUDL Brewing.
”We love using hops from RipeLockers at Roadhouse because it gives us the chance to extend our wet-hopped brewing season and to mix up varieties that usually cannot be brewed with at the same time due to various varieties pick windows,” says Max Shafer, Brewmaster Roadhouse Brewing Co. “I also love being able to brew with 2 different varieties that have been picked at different times during harvest. It adds a depth and complexity to the beer that is unlike anything I have ever brewed or tasted.”