By Andy Young, The Shout
Hop Products Australia (HPA), Australia’s largest hop grower has planted the first 50 hectares at its new farm in Victoria, as part of its $35m expansion project.
HPA is hoping to plant 150 new hectares at the farm in Buffalo River Valley in the first phase of the project, which aims to ultimately increase HPA’s total hop production by 50 per cent over a period of six years, further increasing supply of its proprietary hop varieties to Australian and international brewers.
The first phase will also see the construction of a new harvest complex comprising 6 kiln floors and space for two Daunhauer pickers. Phase two will see an additional 150 hectares planted plus an extra six kiln floors at full production by 2024.
HPA’s Managing Director, Tim Lord, who has overseen the expansion said: “It is important that HPA remains responsive to industry trends. With the Australian Brewing Industry booming, the expansion will allow us to sustain supply locally, and go some distance toward fulfilling the global demand for our proprietary hops.”
This latest expansion follows the successful $15m project completed between 2015 and 2017, which resulted in a 75 per cent increase in HPA’s production. The new land will bring HPA’s total farming operations to 900 hectares across Victoria and Tasmania.
HPA Sales and Marketing Manager, Owen Johnston added: “Our hops are featuring in great beers here in Australia and all over the world. This expansion will help us ensure our proprietary hops are available to the brewers who choose to use them.
“The new acreage will allow us the opportunity to continue hop supply surety, increase varietal diversity, and enable flexibility to meet future brewing trends. We’re acting on brewers’ needs and additional productivity will help us support their success.”
The first commercial hops from HPA’s new farm will be harvested in 2020 and HPA has planned 20 new full-time positions as part of the expansion, as well as an estimated 130 casual positions to support the annual harvest once mature.