NZ to invest $13m in developing unique ‘Kiwi’ hop

A new joint craft beer and hop breeding programme that will see NZ$13m pumped into New Zealand’s craft beer industry has been launched with the aim of developing a classic ‘Kiwi’ hop unique to the country.

The programme will see NZ$13m invested into New Zealand’s craft beer industry with the aim of developing a uniquely New Zealand hop

Hāpi Research Ltd has partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to deliver Hāpi – Brewing Success, a $13.25 million, seven-year Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme.

Hāpi Research Ltd is a joint venture between Garage Project, a leading Wellington craft brewer, and Freestyle Farms, a leading Nelson hop farm. While the programme was initiated by Garage Project and Freestyle Farms, it will “grow as more like-minded businesses and research partners join the industrywide efforts”.

“Our programme will pursue research to enhance and differentiate super-premium hop and craft beer markets and boost growth of both industries,” said Freestyle Farms Director David Dunbar. “By collaborating across industries we’ll accelerate development of unique Kiwi hops, promote uniquely New Zealand craft beer and open up new areas to hop growing.”

Hāpi Research Ltd will contribute $7.95 million and MPI $5.3 million over the term of the programme.

Licensing for any new hops will be limited exclusively to New Zealand growers. If successful, the programme expects hop revenue to grow to $132 million per annum by 2027, boosting the industry by $89 million.

Driven by exports, the programme expects craft beer revenue to grow to $98.5 million per annum by 2027 – $82 million higher than the revenue forecasted without the programme.

“We want to create a sustainable point of difference for New Zealand grown hops and craft beer,” said Tom Greally, chief executive officer for Garage Project. “Through the programme, we want to understand the unique chemical compounds of our hops that produce New Zealand flavours, and how to best accentuate them in finished beer.”

The project will encompass five areas of research, including hop breeding, precision farming and hop processing, hop varietal market development, the development New Zealand’s craft beer category, and how best to create opportunities for the industry.

MPI director-general Martyn Dunne added: “The Hāpi – Brewing Success PGP programme will create a cross-industry research and development programme that’s commercially viable, sustainable in the long-term, with strong commercialisation pathways driven by the market. The collaborative efforts will strongly support development of high-value, premium products from regional businesses.

“The Hāpi – Brewing Success PGP programme will help growers and brewers to explore new possibilities for our hop growing and craft beer industries.”

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