With the rise in craft brewing and increased attention to safe and environmentally sustainable production practices in the brewing industry, the need for a comprehensive Good Agricultural Practices assurance for hops is on the rise.

GLOBALG.A.P. has partnered with its member, Hop Growers of America (HGA), to develop an IFA Crops sub-scope that addresses the unique production and harvesting conditions of hops. HGA represents the US hop growers who produce 40 % of the world’s hops. 

HGA led the initiative to work with hop growers, merchants, processors, and brewer customers to develop this sub-scope. The Hop sub-scope was reviewed by hop producer representatives from 16 countries to ensure consistency with practices across the world’s hop producing countries. Additionally, it was reviewed by hop merchant/processor companies who are responsible for marketing over 90 % of the world’s hops. Formal endorsements for the effort to develop the Hop sub-scope came from influential organizations including the International Hop Growers Convention, The Brewers Association, Anheuser-Busch, Miller Coors, and others.

Following its standard public consultation process, the GLOBALG.A.P. Board adopted the Hop sub-scope in June and it is now published on the GLOBALG.A.P. website.  GLOBALG.A.P. will submit the new sub-scope for GFSI benchmarking after the first round of certifications this harvest season.

The Hop sub-scope (HO) covers propagation material, soil management, pre-harvest evaluation and harvest, and post-harvest activities. 

The first public training was held in Washington State, USA, July 11-13, concluding with a mock audit at Roy Farms, a very large, progressive hop and fruit farm.

Carman McKinney, Food Safety & Sustainability Manager for Roy Farms Inc., has been actively involved throughout the process. “The new GLOBALG.A.P. Hop Standard offers the brewing industry a comprehensive and robust tool for validating and assuring that safe and responsible farming practices went into producing this key brewing ingredient. Our farm takes great pride in the care we put into producing the highest quality hops. This third-party certification helps us to share this integrity story with our customers.”