06 June 2024

Australian crop report 2024: Focus on hop quality

Australia | Hop Products Australia (HPA) have completed this year’s harvest. They picked 670 hectares across Victoria and Tasmania, which resulted in 1,340 tonnes of hops. This was a 177 hectare decrease and a 480 tonne decrease year-on-year across six proprietary varieties – Eclipse, Ella, Enigma, Galaxy, Topaz and Vic Secret, as well as Cascade.

Crop 2024 looks a little different to previous years. Some changes to global demand led HPA to idle 20% of their gardens. HPA’s Head of Sales & Marketing Owen Johnston said “this production decrease was a necessary step towards rebalancing supply and demand, and an opportunity to get hyperfocused on Aussie hop quality. We had greater flexibility to fine tune our standard operating procedures and harvest each variety at optimal maturity.”

Impact in beer is expected to remain strong, with this year’s average oil content coming in equal or above the 5-year average for all proprietary hops. Mr Johnston said “Galaxy and Enigma were the star performers with both oils and alphas above the 5-year average, which should lead to a great year of true-to-type flavours and aromas in beer.”

HPA continue to invest in quality improvements. HPA’s Managing Director Tim Lord said “As is often the case with significant projects, our new Victorian pellet plant took longer than expected and wasn’t up and running in time to process crop 2024. Instead, we utilised our existing Victorian pellet plant which was kept in a state of readiness for this exact outcome.”

Mr Lord said “We are in awe of the resilience our industry has shown over the past few years. HPA is fully focused on a sustainable future of quality beer, and has continued to invest in technology, infrastructure and process improvements that will ultimately benefit our brewing customers.” Availability of Aussie hops is currently better than ever, but HPA still encourage brewers to consider their requirements, and communicate them early and often.

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