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NZ Hops Ltd is continuing to lead the way in bringing new and exciting hop varieties to market through its new Bract Brewing Programme. The programme takes trial hops – grown by Master Growers in the Tasman region of New Zealand, and delivers them to select, global, brewers to produce unique brews. Around 60 brewers are taking part.
Brewers are selected with the capability to trial brews and gather meaningful insights. They receive exclusive access to the trial Bract hops (currently known as NZH-101, NZH-102, NZH-104 and NZH-105) and brew using the trial hops. Brewers are required to use one Bract hop to create a single-hopped beer. The brew is then evaluated for its technical details, such as its aromas, flavours and post-fermentation performance. Any beer launched into the market using a trial hop will feature the gold Official Bract Brewer logo on the product.
Feedback from the Bract Brewing Programme will directly impact on the innovation pipeline for NZ Hops and is the final step before the hop is commercialised and released into the market. Master Growers will take their cue from this feedback when deciding which varieties to plant in order for them to reach maximum crop coverage in the coming seasons. The Bract Brewing Programme creates a global network for collaboration which formalises the communication between brewers, Master Growers and NZ Hops – a powerful advantage in the global hop market.
Nectaron® – NZ Hop’s newest rock star hop, was released into the market in 2021 after 17 years of development as a trial hop. Nectaron® is known for its intense tropical, passionfruit, and stone fruit characteristics. Brewers in the craft-brewing industry can’t get enough of Nectaron® as its characteristics lend themselves well to IPAs, low, and no-alcohol beers. It is one of the biggest success stories in hop breeding to date for NZ Hops.
Dr Ron Beatson, NZ Hops Brand Ambassador, and former Head Research Scientist at Plant & Food Research is supporting the programme with his technical expertise. His knowledge of each hop is instrumental as he works between the Master Growers and the brewers. Dr Beatson has been working in the research and development of hop breeding for 38 years, before retiring at the end of 2021. Nectaron® was named both for its flavour characteristics and in recognition of Ron.
The hop industry is brewing with anticipation for the release of NZH-101, NZH-102, NZH-104 and NZH-105 in the near future. These hops have their own unique characteristics and will complement the other 17 NZ Hops varieties.