And we’re off and running
It’s been a big year for Hāpi Research, and we’ve hit the ground running since we launched at the end of last year. We’ve been hard at work developing our programme and getting projects started. We can’t wait to share our progress and let you know what we’ve been working on.
For those of you who don’t know much about Hāpi Research Ltd, we are a new collaborative industry-led hop breeding and market development company that seeks to support the growth of New Zealand craft beer and hop farming. We are doing this through the Hāpi – Brewing Success programme between Hāpi Research Ltd and the Ministry for Primary Industries. This programme is driving benefits for New Zealand’s premium hops and craft beer industries through an advanced market-led hop breeding programme, precision farming and processing techniques, and international market collaboration with leading craft brewers.
Hāpi Research launched at the end of 2018, with the vision to transform New Zealand’s hop industry into a significant direct supplier of super-premium hops to the best craft breweries in the world, to grow the value and volume of New Zealand premium craft beer and hop sales domestically and internationally, and to help New Zealand craft brewers create sustainable points of difference and access attractive new markets.
Hāpi Research is striving to create a platform for facilitating industry excellence and to become a resource centre for industry best practices in hops and craft beer. We aim to become a resource centre for new innovations, the latest research, and sustainability best practices. We strive to be a source of quality information on the hops and craft beer industries and to create opportunities to connect New Zealand craft beer and hop industry participants to markets.
We’ve got lots of projects in the works and we’re excited to share the latest news and developments.
Hop Breeding We’ve been deep in the development of our hop breeding programme, and it’s coming together nicely. We will have thousands of seedlings going into the fields this coming spring, with multiple advanced selections proceeding into larger scale plot trials. Trial brewing of the advanced selections will occur in the coming quarter. This is a long term project that will hopefully begin to start showing results with the 2020 harvest. Hop breeding is unpredictable and contains an element of luck, so forecasting exactly when outputs will become available is challenging. That said, we currently have advanced selections we are excited about and are pushing to significantly shrink the typical 5-10 year timeline to market using innovative methods.
Precision Farming Our precision farming projects were successfully initiated prior to the 2019 growing season, and we’ve shifted our focus to analysing the results from the data that’s been pouring in. Our remote plant health project gathered drone imagery through the growing season in order to develop a crop model for hops and gain new plant health insights from visual and near infrared data. Additional seasons of data will be needed to develop a robust plant health model; however, the drone immediately offered a better and different perspective for visual scouting of the crop in a more timely and efficient manner. We initiated a multi-year trial of coconut coir string that seeks to develop a cost effective method of using the fiber. By developing a highly effective alternative to nylon string, we seek to improve the sustainability of hop growing. Preliminary analysis from the 2018-2019 growing season indicates that the coir string is an effective alternative. A project aimed at better understanding and optimizing harvest timing for flavour and aroma was initiated and will be collecting sensory data from partner breweries over the coming year. Data analysis and trial brewing will help us develop a set of harvest timing best practices.
Trial Brewing This year our trial brewing project seeks to evaluate the various outputs from our projects as well as to develop novel sources of sensory feedback from consumers. Small amounts of first year experimental hops were harvested from the 2019 season, and efforts are underway to begin nano brew trials. Specialist small fermenters have been commissioned at Garage Project, allowing us to brew small pilot batches, and crucially introduce dry hopping during active fermentation, hopefully mirroring the workflow of most craft breweries. The amount of available material for trial brewing in our first year is small, but we expect to see this grow substantially in future years and will look to our craft brewery partners for additional trial brewing support in later years.
Hāpi 2019 Symposium
April saw the launch of our first annual Hāpi Symposium in Wellington. We had an overwhelming response and the event was well attended by a wide range of people from the craft beer and hop industries.
The Hāpi Symposium is a gathering of craft beer and hop industry participants from across the globe, for a day of talks covering the latest research from the hop world, brewing techniques, and experiences from breweries and other industries. The event creates opportunities to build stronger, direct relationships, share best practices, and hear about the latest in hop research, brewing techniques, and market tastes and trends. The Hāpi Symposium provides a forum for domestic and international craft brewers, scientists, hop breeders and growers to engage in collaborative discussions, information sharing, and networking.
This year the focus was on new developments in craft brewing, with a fantastic group of speakers. To hear more about the symposium or watch the talks from our fantastic panel of speakers, check out the Events page on the Hāpi website. (Hāpi.co.nz)
We’ve been working hard on market development both in New Zealand and overseas. Our market development efforts are aimed at building brewer and consumer awareness of the flavourful and highly aromatic hops that are grown in New Zealand, and the research and development work that is being done at Hāpi Research. Over the last quarter, this has taken the form of market visits to the West and East Coast of America, timing visits with major beer festivals to visit as many US craft breweries as possible. The response has been fantastic, and we plan to continue these visits, expanding to other markets like Asia, UK and Europe.
We are also pleased with the development of an information sharing platform, the Hāpi Research website, where we will publish informative and relevant resources that we hope you will find useful. We are excited to announce the release of our first two publications, a Hop Industry Guide for New Growers and a Financial Feasibility Model for Hops. The industry guide seeks to provide information about hops, the industry, and basic hop farming practices. The template Financial Feasibility Model for Hops will be a useful resource for growers interested in getting into the industry. These publications can be found on the Resources page of the Hāpi Research website, and are the first of many publications we intend to create.
The Hāpi Research website (Hapi.co.nz) is up-to-date with information about what we’ve been working on, along with our two new publications. We hope it will prove to be a great resource for you as we venture further along the road with all of our projects.
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Cheers, The Hāpi Team