Craft beer in New Zealand almost seems ubiquitous these days. New craft beer producers are popping up everywhere offering their own spin on our favorite varieties. This industry however is tiny by international standards. This demand for homegrown hops pushes up beer prices. This month the Ministry of Primary industries announced a new Primary Growth Partnership giving New Zealand craft beer a shot in the arm. With commercial partner Hāpi Research Ltd (Garage project and Nelson based- Freestyle Farms) a combined $13.25 million will be invested over the next 7 years.
Hāpi Research Ltd is a industry led program. Their aim is to develop super premium and unique Kiwi hop varieties to promote uniquely New Zealand craft beer. Focus and attention will put be put on the way in which regional variables influence the flavor profiles of hops. Just like your single origin coffee, or what the French refer to as terroir in relation to wine. This concept gives the drinker a unique sense of place. Using the latest precision farming and hop processing methods efficiency will be increased. The licensing of these unique varieties will only be available to New Zealand hop growers. Better beer and more of it.
With sustainability at its heart this initiative aims to create consistent growth in New Zealands craft beer in terms of output and quality. New grower and brewer business models will allow the industry to grow quicker creating new jobs and increasing imports. This initiative is estimated to add an extra $171 million per annum to hop growers and craft beer producers by 2027. One of the first beers to benefit from this project is the Garage Project Block Party series. From a single block of sun drenched fields of Freestyle Hop farm in Upper Moutere this unique beer is a blend of Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Pacifica Hops. The result is a pungent level of grapefruit and golden straw colour. This beer gives the drinker a sense of place, and transports them to beautiful country side of Nelson. This is certainly a space to keep an eye on.