Covid-19 Effects

The timing of the lockdown has caused minimal strife for the only region commercially growing hops in New Zealand.

Chief executive Craig Orr said the industry had been somewhat fortunate that the March 26 lockdown had occurred at the back end of the 2020 harvest. 

"We literally had 10 days affected on the receiving side, which was the tail end of Nelson Sauvin - our 'big gorilla' variety - and the green bullet which is an old staple."

Orr said a bumper yield had been achieved in 2020 with a 20 per cent volume increase on last season, and gains made on three new varieties.

As another essential business permitted to operate in the coming weeks, skeleton crews were now processing bales at NZ Hops' Appleby warehouse.

Orr said the domestic market was likely to operate at a slight lag, due in part to package-enabled brewers drawing down on existing hop inventories.

However, with 80 per cent of its crop sent off-shore, Orr said the effect of Covid-19 on its United States and British markets was likely to take a hit in the months ahead. 

"The US, where they use a lot more of the craft varieties, is in a bit of freefall.

"We've done some pretty sobering revisiting of our budget and there's certainly some tough headwinds ahead, that's for sure."

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Land of Hops & Glory
2020 Our record-breaking harvest