New Zealand has long proven its outstanding ability to cultivate amazing alcoholic beverages including, wines, spirits and beers. Located in the Tasman region, family-owned Clayton Hops, is one of many beneficiaries of the land in the popular Tasman area, and is now the country's largest hop-growing company.
Their hops are used in craft beer markets globally, particularly in the U.S., but also in Europe, the UK, China, South Korea, Australia, and South America. Chief Executive Officer Brian Clayton told REX host Dom George that the unique New Zealand hop varieties they grow, including Motueka and Riwaka, are creating quite a buzz in the market.
"These hops in general are unique, they're not grown in other parts of the world," he said.
"Because of the local growing conditions in New Zealand, the characters that come through are different in those varieties in New Zealand…So that's the big thing about Kiwi hop varieties, it's the uniqueness and that's why there's a nice demand for them around the world."
He also highlighted the family's commitment to innovation in the industry, mentioning the creation of their hop oil product, a super-concentrated form of hops that increases flavour and yield while reducing the carbon footprint.
Additionally, they have a groundbreaking cryogenic processing line that separates the valuable lupulin glands from the rest of the hop, leading to a super-concentrated product.
Despite the success, Clayton acknowledged that there are challenges in the industry.
"These are tough times for brewers, right? Not just here in New Zealand but around the world, and brewers are really looking at ways to increase their revenues and reduce their costs."
However, he remains optimistic about the future of the hop industry in New Zealand, and with the Clayton brothers' constant innovation and commitment to the craft, they are likely to remain at the forefront of this sector.
Listen to the full chat between Brian Clayton and Dominic George above.