Normally, brewers located within one day of driving distance from where fresh hops are grown rush to pick up fresh hops within hours of harvest and plan to brew within twelve hours after pickup. Brewers located beyond one day’s driving distance are forced to air freight the hops.
RipeLockers proved to not only prolong and preserve the bright aroma, taste, and quality of the delicate fresh hops stored inside its chamber after harvest but also replaced the need for the use of costly next-day air shipping of this valuable commodity by brewers located farther away from the farms.
In collaboration with Virgil Gamache Farms (VGF) in Yakima, Washington, 360 pounds of their unique brand of fresh hops called Amarillo were harvested and immediately stored in RipeLockers for over a week. These fresh hops were then shipped via refrigerated truck to Barebottle Brewing Company in San Francisco, California to brew their annual Amarillo Fresh Hop IPA.
“Seeing the vivid, emerald-green depth of the RipeLocker ‘fresh’ hops was astounding. Despite being picked 7 days earlier, they looked – and smelled – better than fresh hops we received within 12 hours of being harvested,” says Lester Koga, Co-Founder of Barebottle.
Growers can significantly increase their margins by shifting volume from dry to fresh markets. Micro-brewers can drastically reduce delivery costs and have extended access to fresh hops after harvest periods.
Using RipeLockers to store hops immediately after harvest, fresh hop growers can maintain the high quality for up to six weeks. With this technology, the period to purchase fresh hops is lengthened, and brewers have more time to obtain fresh hops well after the harvest stage and avoid costly overnight air freight.
“Our technology simply works on all perishables as it’s based on the science of slowing respiration, transpiration, and suppressing decay. The opportunity to prove it on fresh hops was an exciting challenge as to-date fresh hops shelf-life has been defined in hours not weeks,” says George Lobisser, CEO/Co-Founder of RipeLocker.