Yakima Chief Hops ships fresh hops to Korea, first time in brewing history

Yakima Chief Hops ships fresh hops to Korea, first time in brewing history

Local hop supplier Yakima Chief Hops recently exported a shipment of freshly harvested hops from the Pacific Northwest to South Korea in just one day for the first time in brewing history.

Jim Lambert, Yakima Chief Hops’ Director of Craft Sales in Asia, helped make it all happen. He said providing brewers on the other side of the world access to hops in their purest form is a huge milestone for the industry.

There’s only about a 36-hour window for fresh hops to get from bine to brewer. According to Lambert, even American breweries face logistical challenges in this regard.

The hops traveled over 5,000 miles to several breweries in Seoul undergoing export inspections and adhering to strict customs requirements.

“We’re extremely proud of where we’re from and what we grow,” said Lambert. “To be able to all the way on the other side of the world, that has a very robust craft beer market that they get to partake in, a U.S. fresh hop beer. So it feels like, you know, it brings things a lot closer.”

Yakima Chief Hops’ mission is to connect brewers worldwide with multi-generational family farms, and to build partnerships that increase the accessibility of hops for brewers everywhere.

“I’m quite certain any of the other great beer countries, Brazil, some of the European ones, there’s so many of them,” said Lambert. “I have a feeling that you know, with people finding out about this, and if we can get it into Korea, well why can’t we do it into other countries so they can experience a fresh hop beer.”

The hops were used to brew fresh hop ales by three Seoul breweries and were released last month.

Because of the YCH sales and logistics staff, the Washington State Department of Agriculture International Marketing team and Plant Services Program; Korean distributor, Brew Source International; and hop breeding partner, Yakima Chief Ranches, 720 pounds of Mosaic® and Ahtanum® brand Fresh Hops were successfully delivered to South Korea in one day.