Hogs Back reaps rewards of growing its own as imported hop prices soar

Surrey brewer Hogs Back says it is is reaping the rewards of planting its own hop garden, as the price of imported varieties reaches an all-time high, fuelled by the weak pound.

The brewer planted its own hops for the first time in 2014 in a commitment to local sourcing, reducing food miles, brewing sustainably and taking more control over the ingredients it uses.

The company hosted an industry seminar under the banner of Hop Tales & Hop Tails in London this week to mark its third harvest and share insights into the UK and world hop markets.

Managing director Rupert Thompson said at the event: “Growing our own hops has been rewarding in many ways and is certainly making us better brewers.

"The hike in hop prices, firstly because of a shortage of US varieties, and then the post-Brexit referendum fall in sterling, have subsequently delivered another benefit, as growing our own hops gives a level of control over one of our key ingredients.

“As prices of imported hops have reached an all-time high, so this benefit will continue, especially as we plan to grow the proportion of our own hops used in our beers."

Hogs Back harvested four hops this year: Fuggles, Farnham White Bine, English Cascade and Pioneer, which it has used for the first time in its 2017 Home Harvest Ale.

Hogs Back is working towards growing 25% of the hops it uses and sourcing 70% within walking distance of its Tongham base.

This year saw hops dried in a brand new oast house, built just three miles from the brewery and the first in Surrey for over 50 years.