The real hop Heroes

The story of hops craftsmanship spans 150 years in the Nelson region, with many of today's growers continuing the legacy and knowledge handed down over many generations. Luck had nothing to do with the early success of these pioneers, who were motivated by grit and fortitude. And today's hop cultivars and those still to be perfected, are a result of provenance, continued clever thinking, hard work and a passion for uncompromising quality.

In fact, today's generation of growers collectively share more than 500 years of hop growing experience.

Below is a growing collection of their stories.

Thorn Hops

Two weeks before the hop harvest of 1965, a freakishly powerful wind blasted through the usually tranquil Motueka Valley, where the Thorn family ha...
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Totara Terrace

When Peter Lines is not in the thick of the annual hop harvest or harvesting juicing grapes from his 40-year-old vineyard, he is perpetually “potte...
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Foxhill Hops

Come hop harvest-time, Waikato dairy farmer Mike Visser exchanges his days spent milking 1000 cows for several intense weeks at Foxhill Hops. Mike ...
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The Pines

Andy Drummond’s fondest childhood memory is of a warm December night when he stretched out beside his Dad on the back of the farm truck, parked amo...
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Kotare Hops

Noel Moleta admits he barely gave a thought to the swathes of lush, green hop gardens surrounding the Tapawera property he’d bought to farm sheep a...
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Matthewson Hops

The day Scott Matthewson’s 1950s Bruff hop-picking machine arrived on his Tadmor Valley farm, it was a dismantled jumble of Meccano-like parts cont...
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Glenrae Hops

When Wilson Matthewson decided to rip out the entire 10 hectares of berries growing on his Glenrae Road farm, he was the last member of the Matthew...
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Northwood Hops

When half-a-century had ticked over since Robert Inglis first started growing hops, he’d not long celebrated one of his own significant birthdays -...
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Kono Hops

Training young hops to wend their way skyward is not a comfortable job when you’re a 6’4” tall lad.  Fresh out of high school in 2011, Dylan Morri...
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New Hoplands

Colin Oldham wasn’t particularly surprised when America’s Budweiser Beer magnate managed to find his relatively small hop farm, tucked away in a p...
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Mac Hops

When Brent McGlashen was just a primary school boy, every day after school during the hop harvest, he would race his three siblings home – the qui...
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Waimea West Hops

The very first time Willy Macdonald noticed numerous little hop burrs forming on the bines, he jumped onto his farm-bike and raced back to the far...
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Kentishman Hops

The night before harvesting begins in Guy Coddington’s hop gardens, master brewer Tracy Banner is feeling as excited as a child anticipating Chris...
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Holmdale Farm

It’s unlikely a beer-brewing kit will ever make the list of the 10 most romantic gifts a bride could present to her groom. However, a kegerator wa...
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Hinetai Hops

As a boy, Dean Palmer could never resist running after the trucks as they headed off from the neighbouring hop farm, tightly packed with freshly-c...
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