Hops Study Tour

01 May 2014

Horticulture Wales is teaming up with supply chain project Cywain to offer growers, landowners, and other businesses interested in the hops and brewing industry the opportunity to join us on a study tour that will take in visits to one of England’s largest hop producers and a merchant that stocks the widest range of hops in the UK.

The popularity of craft beer and micro-brewing has grown phenomenally over recent years – there are now well over 1,000 microbreweries in the UK, the highest figure for more than 70 years, with the number of breweries in operation almost double that of a decade ago. Despite this boom, the vast majority of Britain's hop production is still concentrated in two traditional growing areas: the Midlands and the South East of England.

Our study tour aims to highlight the commercial opportunities available for hop production in Wales, so whether you’re an existing hops grower looking to expand, a farmer, landowner, or grower of other crops (such as apples) interested in diversifying, or a micro-brewer keen to find potential hops suppliers, join us for an information-packed day. Attendees will learn about the current market demand, the technical aspects of the hop growing process, and some of the challenges hop growers face.

The day will include comprehensive tours of:

  • Stocks Farm: Run by the Capper family for more than five decades, Stocks Farm on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border incorporates more than 100 acres of land dedicated to hop growing – enough to brew nearly 50 million pints of beer – making it one of the largest hop producers in England.

  • Charles Faram & Co Ltd: In business for more than 150 years, Charles Faram & Co Ltd stocks and sells the largest range of hops in the country. Originally based in Worcester, the merchant is now situated in the hamlet of Newland. It currently stocks more than 100 different hop varieties and supplies to brewers and microbrewers not just here in the UK, but across Europe too. The firm recently hit the headlines after teaming up with Ilkley Brewery to launch a trial beer made with its new British-grown Olicana hop, while it is also accelerating the development of other new varieties to meet a rising demand from craft brewers for aromatic hops.

The tour will be an invaluable opportunity to tap into the expertise of these two hugely successful businesses, while hop growers (and would-be growers) will also get the chance to meet brewers and micro-brewers.

Topics covered during the day will include:

  • An introduction to the hops industry

  • The hop growing year

  • Harvesting, drying, and baling

  • Sales and marketing

  • New variety development

  • Issues and opportunities in the current hops industry.

Return travel from designated pick-up points will be available, along with a heavily subsidised lunch (which will be covered by a contribution of £5 per attendee).

Places are extremely limited and available on a first come, first served basis only. To reserve a place, complete a booking form and return it – along with a cheque for £5 made out to Menter a Busnes – to: Mari Hughes, Hops Study Tour, c/o Cywain, Menter a Busnes, Parc Gwyddoniaeth, Aberystwyth, SY23 3AH. Alternatively email the booking form to cywain@menterabusnes.co.uk, and you will be then be invoiced for the £5.

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