Australian hops are officially a thing here in the United States craft beer industry. Noting this rise, Hop Products Australia (HPA) commissioned their new Buffalo River Valley processing facility last week ahead of the commercial hop harvest this March. The event marked the completion of phase one of a $35 million expansion that aims to increase HPA’s total production to 2400 metric tonnes by 2024.
The expansion is in response to hop-forward beer styles like the American Pale Ale, IPA and NEIPA becoming increasingly popular, and driving unprecedented levels of hop consumption at home and around the world.
HPA have now planted 150 new hectares and completed construction of the new Buffalo River Valley processing facility, which included the installation of one Daunhauer picker and 6 kiln floors. They will now move on to phase two which will include planting an additional 150 hectares, installation of a second Daunhauer picker and another 6 kiln floors over the next 3 years.
The new Buffalo River Valley farm will bring HPA’s farming operations to 900 hectares across Tasmania and Victoria, increasing supply surety and diversity of hop varieties for brewers. It will also create at least 20 new full time positions and approximately 55 casual positions for the initial harvest. This will increase to approximately 130 casual positions once the crop is mature.
Since HPA is already operating in Buffalo River, brewers and beer lovers can expect that same great flavour outcomes from the new Buffalo River Valley processing facility. It is simply an extension of the existing processes and on-farm techniques used by HPA across Tasmania and Victoria. The plantings will boost the production of in-demand varieties such as Galaxy, Vic Secret and Topaz as well as HPA-016, HPA’s newest proprietary variety.
The opening of the new Buffalo River Valley processing facility will be a much needed boost to the surrounding communities that have been battered by the recent bushfires, with many businesses having to close for extended periods of time over their peak tourism season. To show some support for their neighbours, HPA will be showcasing local food and beverages at the opening as well as encouraging any customers who have scheduled a farm tour over the course of harvest to stay a night of two and really experience everything High Country Victoria has to offer.