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Craft beer boosts Aussie hops industry

The on-going surge in the popularity of craft beer is having a positive effect on the Australian hop industry it has been reported.

The big hop producers in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley and Eurobin in Victoria are not only expanding production to cater to the country’s 400 craft brewers but diversifying the hop varieties they grow as well.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Hop Products Australia will harvest 230 hecatres this year and has constructed an extra 40ha of trellis in Tasmania and 50ha in Victoria in readiness for next year.

In addition, whereas 10 years ago it was only growing four different hop varieties, at its Tasmania farm it now grows 12 and six in Victoria.

The company’s nursery is also stepping up its research into new breeds. Hop breeder, Simon Whitlock, told the broadcaster he and his team would aim to create 20-30 crosses every year with the possibility that a new breed might catch the eye of brewers not just in Australia but internationally and, as creators, the company has sole rights to its production and sale.

“We’ve been busy pulling out old varieties and putting in the new ones that we have got exclusive access to and rights over in the market,” he told ABC.

New breeds and plantings are also helping to reinvigorate paddocks and increase yields after crop levels hit a low point in 2009.

Hop Products Australia has said it expects to harvest 1,000 tonnes this year, growing to 1,500 tonnes over the next few years as new plantings begin to yield.

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