Clayton Hops launches advanced hop product range

New Zealand’s largest hop grower, Clayton Hops, has launched a suite of advanced hop products designed to cater to the brewing industry’s evolving interest beyond standard hop pellets.

The new range includes fresh hop oils, a thiol precursor powder and cryogenically produced concentrated hop pellets.

The company will also soon be releasing a range of hop pellets infused with the thiol precursor powder.

In a statement from the company, CEO Brian Clayton said the family-owner grower saw “immense potential” in diversifying beyond standard hop pellets.

“Customer insights suggest that beer drinkers and brewers alike are seeking bolder, cleaner flavours and brewers are constantly looking for ways to improve their efficiencies, reduce waste and cost to their businesses,” he said.

“Our hops go from bine to bottle in one day for our fresh hop oils, which results in an exceptionally clean and intense aroma profile with no bittering.

“Being so highly concentrated and made here in New Zealand, our hop oils are a sustainable addition to a brewer’s toolkit of hop products.

“The cryogenic hop pellets are another way brewers can save on raw material weight, improve brew efficiencies, get a more intense aroma and flavour hit from our distinctive New Zealand hop varieties and do their bit for the environment,” Clayton said.

Clayton told Brews News that the alternative to the company developing and producing the products themselves was shipping hops overseas for processing.

“As well as all the costs associated with doing it, and the carbon footprint, we definitely wanted to do it in-house here in New Zealand because we know we know from past history that if you’ve got things in-house it makes a massive difference in terms of operational control as well.”

The fresh hop oils and concentrated hop pellets will be marketed under a new brand, Amplifire.

The thiol precursor powder is made from an organic Marlborough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc grape extract and will go under the brand name Thiol Theory, and is designed to unlock the tropical flavours of New Zealand hops.

“We are the first and only New Zealand growers to be investing in this cutting-edge technology in-house, which really reflects our passion for the industry and our intention to ensure New Zealand keeps up with the rapid pace of innovation in the competitive global brewing community,” Clayton said.

“Clayton Hops has its sights firmly set on the future with these product developments.  We are super excited to see how brewers respond to and use the new products.”

Clayton said it was important for the company to not “just sit on its hands turn out T90 pellets”.

“I don’t think that’s good enough in this day and age,” he said.

“The big guys in America are coming out with new products and when you walk into cool stores for brewers and they’re sitting there and you’re thinking, ‘we’re at such a disadvantage if we can’t have these kinds of products in our suite of offerings.

“It’s about keeping relevant and putting your best foot forward. You can either sit on your hands and do nothing, or you can chase it and we felt the best way to go is to chase.”

Clayton Hops has four hop farms totalling 1,350 acres in the Tasman region at the top of New Zealand’s South Island.

The family-owned and operated business has fully integrated facilities, including modern harvesting systems and a new world-class processing, packing and storage facility.

In 2022 the company announced a major investment in expansion, investing in additional land and also a high-capacity pelletiser.

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