Craft brewers are scientists who must constantly experiment to find future success. Their laboratories — the brewhouse — are always producing the next generation, from seasonals and limited runs to weird collabs and year-round brands. Brewers want new flavors on a frequent basis so that they can put their creativity into new and exciting recipes. Oregon Fruit Products is here to help. Founded in 1935, the Salem, Ore.-based fruit expert offers a complete line of canned, frozen and shelf-stable premium fruit for brewers.
Which of its products are popular these days with craft pioneers?
“Trend wise, we’ve experienced quite a bit of demand for citrus in the past year, which prompted us to come out with grapefruit and blood orange purees,” explained Chris Sarles, CEO of Oregon Fruit Products. “Right now, brewers are requesting more tropical flavors. They’re seeing the advantage of working with a product like ours because it’s easy, and it can be stored and used year-round, whenever inspiration strikes. This industry is all about innovation, and we’re finding that if we can mirror the brewer’s ability to stay nimble and creative with our ingredients, they’re very happy.”
To do this, Oregon Fruit Products has launched a “limited-release program” for fruity brewing purees. For the rest of 2016 and into 2017, the company will release a new limited-edition Fruit for Brewing puree each quarter, ranging from sweet tropical fruits to tart rhubarb. Such offerings are intended to provide craft brewers with the ingredients needed to create their own specialty-release fruit-infused beers, ciders and sour beers, a trend that continues to show growth within the craft beer industry.
“We continually hear from our craft brewing customers that they want new flavors on a frequent and rotating basis so that they may put their ingenuity to the test with new seasonal beers, ciders and meads,” Sarles said. “With 14 mainstay flavors and four new rotating flavors, we can be a one-stop shop for breweries of all sizes around the country.”
Why use a puree?
Using fresh or frozen fruit in the brewing process is labor-intensive, costly and can lead to unpredictable results or, worse yet, introduce unwanted yeast strains into the brew. Oregon Fruit Products’ Fruit for Brewing purees are aseptic, meaning they are flash-heated at ultra-high temperatures for a very short time to minimize microbes in the fruit puree. The product is cooled quickly to maintain the best fresh fruit flavor and color. This process delivers a consistent year-round flavor profile brewers can count on. The entire process is closed, with the package filled and capped in a sealed environment, without letting any contamination enter the system. The majority of Oregon Specialty Fruit purees have a shelf life of 18 months in ambient temperature.
Oregon Fruit tentatively plans the release as follows:
- Spring 2016 (available May 11) — mango
- Summer 2016 — pineapple
- Fall 2016 — passion fruit
- Winter 2016-’17 — rhubarb