Fresh Hops in Korea

by | Oct 29, 2019

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a 100% grower owned supplier is the ability to bring hops from the family farms of the Pacific Northwest to brewers across the world. We form strategic partnerships with global distributors so that brewers can have access to American hops, regardless of where they are located.

Supplying an agricultural product to breweries big and small, all over the world does not come without its challenges though. From regulations to shipping to storage, and everything in between, hops have their limitations, especially in their freshest form. Because of these limitations, it’s a common belief that many countries cannot access fresh hops. To which we say, challenge accepted.  

This year, our international team participated in one of the most massive collaborative projects in YCH history – bringing freshly harvested hops from the bines of Yakima, WA to the brewers of South Korea, traveling approximately 5,345 miles in less than 36 hours.

Exporting a highly perishable agricultural product to a foreign country is no easy feat – especially more than 700 pounds of it. Our Fresh Hops had to undergo US export inspections and adhere to strict Korean Customs Service requirements. If going through TSA gives you anxiety, imagine how our logistics department felt.

“The fresh hop shipment to South Korea proved to be quite the challenge as it was something we had never done before,” says Tyler Shearn, Import Export Manager at YCH. “But when we spoke to Jim Lambert [YCH Asia Sales Rep] and he proposed the idea, I really felt the energy and understood his intentions. Sometimes you have to look past the risk, challenges, and chances of failure and put that foot forward towards the next step. This is a huge milestone for us. I am very proud of the team we have and everybody involved in making this possible.” 

The entire project required the help of multiple people and organizations, including months of preparation, attention to detail, communication, teamwork and determination. We would like to give a huge round of applause to our international sales and logistics departments; Julie Johnson, Danny Kim and Sherry Lagerstam from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) International Marketing team and Plant Services Program; Jason Lee from YCH’s Korean Distributor BrewSource International; and Yakima Chief Ranches.

The project also required coordination and flexibility from the receiving breweries, Seoul Brewery, Amazing Brewery and Playground Brewery. Read more about the very FIRST Fresh Hop ales of South Korea below.

We are proud to be surrounded by such forward thinkers with a “can do” attitude that made this incredible achievement possible. To everyone involved, we raise our glass and say, “same time next year, right?” We look forward to continuing our progress towards increasing the accessibility of hop products to brewers everywhere and building relationships with the right people to make it happen.

Seoul Brewery

Dedicated to the craft, Seoul Brewery began brewing at 3am as soon as their Fresh Hops arrived. Turning their signature Salinger Rye IPA into a fresh hop ale, they substituted Mosaic® Fresh Hops instead of Mosaic® Cryo Hops® pellets. The tropical flavors really shined through in this juicy and drinkable IPA. It was released in the taproom on October 10th.

Amazing Brewery

Winner of this year’s YCH Alpha Brew Championship, Amazing Brewery created a wet hop IPA using Mosaic® Fresh Hops. Appropriately named the “Yakima Express,” the beer is sold in cans with the iconic Yakima Chief Ranches logo, along with the YCH logo. It was released on October 25th.

Playground Brewery

Using Ahtanum® Fresh Hops, Playground Brewery brewed a fresh hop Double IPA called “Big & Certain Hoppiness” which also includes Sabro® and Citra® Cryo Hops® pellets. The beer will be released in cans on November 1st. For more information, visit Playgroundbrewery.com