Australia’s largest hop grower, Hop Products Australia (HPA), has planted the first 50 hectares at its new farm in Victoria’s Buffalo River Valley.
The $35million expansion project aims to increase HPA’s total hop production by 50% over a period of six years, further increasing supply of its proprietary hop varieties to Australian and international brewers.
It is anticipated that 150 new hectares will be planted during phase one of this project, as well as the construction of a new harvest complex comprising six kiln floors and space for two Daunhauer pickers. Phase two will see an additional 150 hectares planted, plus an extra six kiln floors, with full production by 2024.
This latest expansion follows the successful $15m project completed between 2015 and 2017, which resulted in a 75% increase in HPA’s production. The new land will bring HPA’s total farming operations to 900 hectares across Victoria and Tasmania.
HPA’s managing director, Tim Lord, 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.”
Twenty new full-time positions are planned as part of the expansion, as well as an estimated 130 casual positions, to support the annual harvest once mature.
“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,” said HPA sales and marketing manager, Owen Johnston.
“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.