HPA’s Owen ‘OJ’ Johnston with Dave Macgill from Moo Brew at Bushy Park Estates. Image credit Adam Gibson

Hop Products Australia (HPA) has unveiled plans to invest $15 million in hop growing operations in Victoria and Tasmania and grow production by 50 per cent over the next three years.

The major investment includes the purchase of new land, advancement of picking and kilning infrastructures and the development of new plant propagation facilities at both Rostrevor Hop Gardens in Eurobin, north Victoria, and Bushy Park Estates in Tasmania – the latter of which celebrates its 150th continuous harvest this month.

The multi-million dollar announcement highlights HPA’s continuous evolution, from commodity hop growers to breeders, cultivators and suppliers of proprietary hops. The investment is a vote of confidence in the future growth of the craft brewing industry, with the Australian craft beer market experiencing 10 per cent YOY growth for the past five years in Australia alone*.

“Our farms are amongst the oldest continuously operating hop farms in the world – dedicated to hop growing since the late 1800s,” said HPA managing director Tim Lord. “We are investing to help satisfy the demand for our proprietary hops, such as Galaxy™, Ella™ and Vic Secret™, to ensure breweries in Australia and around the world can continue to make craft beer full of Australian hop character.”

The company’s first significant capital investment in land, plant and equipment in 20 years will see the area under hops increase by 50 per cent and will double the processing capacity of Rostrevor Hop Gardens, ensuring HPA’s brewery partners can continue to grow with surety around their supply of HPA’s proprietary hops.

“HPA is a good news story in Australian agriculture; in the past decade we’ve transitioned from competing internationally at the mercy of a commodity-based industry to thriving with a differentiated product offering through our proprietary hop varieties,” said Lord.

The comprehensive expansion will occur in a number of stages across both farm sites with the first custom picking machine due in Victoria in mid-2015.

*IBIS Craft Beer Production in Australia: Market Research Report March 2014

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