When I started brewing back in Vancouver in the ’90s, Australian hops were all the rage. They were decidedly more exotic than the US and even the British hops, even though the US was were all the innovation was happening at the time.
In the last few years, with the boom in craft beer, it has been the big, usually tropical fruity and citrusy hops of New Zealand that have come to the fore. Nelson Sauvin, Pacific Jade, Pacifica, and Green Bullet are a few that come to mind.
Now it seems that the New Zealand government is going to start throwing some money behind craft beer, with the fantastically named, ‘ministry of primary industries’, seeking to replicate the success the New Zealand wine industry has had in recent years.
The government is putting £5.3 million into the development of hops and craft beer, with a further £7.95 million being invested by a hops grower, and brewery.
From the Guardian:
The aim of the research is to create new varieties and cross-breeds of hops that will be identifiably “Kiwi” from the first sip, much like Marlborough sauvignon blanc is known for its distinctive gooseberry flavours.
New Zealand has a thriving craft beer scene with about 200 companies in operation. The number has increased by 300% in the last decade. However only a small quantity of hops is grown in New Zealand and access to markets is limited.
They are stating a timeline of 7 years, so we may be waiting a while before this program bears fruit, but considering the fine state of New Zealand hops now, it will be interesting to see what the outcome of this concerted effort will be.