And not just any hops! At the very least, certified organic hops. The mere presence of this label considerably complicates the choice of partner.
It's not just a question of knowing how to produce without synthetic plant protection products - which means "as balanced as possible" with ecosystems - it's also a question of having started the conversion or creation process in the right way, having obtained the precious certificate and providing the information needed to maintain it over time.
Organic farming" certification implies a commitment of means on the part of the producer. In other words, they must prove that their practices are compatible with the specifications of the organic farming label. This applies in particular to inputs.
Another certification is a mandatory prerequisite: "hop" certification. It is based on organic criteria such as seed content, leaf content, humidity, etc.
The producers we work with must therefore fully assume this certification work in order to sell us their produce. Otherwise, traceability cannot be guaranteed. In some cases, transport of the hops will not be possible if these documents are missing or incorrect.
In addition to these preliminary steps, we systematically request post-harvest analyses from our partner growers - even though we are not required to do so by law - to ensure that the hops comply with the AB label.
For two main reasons:
- Prevent any cross-contamination that might occur when pelletizing hops;
- Protect brewers from downgrading their products.
Towards zero residues
In practice, experience has shown that it is impossible to 100% guarantee the cleanliness of a batch over time. In the absence of compulsory analysis methods, lists of products to be tested for and detection thresholds, the conclusions of health surveys carried out by certifying bodies can lead to contradictory results, left to their own judgement.
In practice :
- Different analysis protocols lead to different results,
- Detectable products are not the same in all laboratories,
- Any products detected will not be interpreted in the same way from one certification body to another, or from one country to another,
- The chemical composition of hops changes over time.
Added to this are analysis tools that continue to progress (lower detection thresholds, longer lists of detectable products, etc.) in an increasingly polluted environment.
All this makes our task very difficult. We strive for perfection, but we can't guarantee it. Funny business, funny times.
On a personal level, it's impossible for us to support anything other than organic farming. Professionally, it would undoubtedly be much simpler. This is one of the reasons why the sector's heavyweights are turning away from the label, even though there is a demand for more wholesome products.
It sometimes makes you wonder if all this isn't designed to discourage us (all those involved in the industry) from supporting this sustainable model, which is more respectful of the soil and of life itself.
A complete supply chain
The hops are first decompacted and then crushed before passing through a pellet press to form T-90 pellets.
The pellets are then cooled before being packed in 5kg bags.
Opaque vacuum bags, printed, formed and die-cut. The bags are packed in 20kg cartons and palletized before being stored in cold storage.
The large cold room enables all pellets produced on site to be stored at 5°C, as well as hops arriving directly in pellet form.
Brewer's contracts allow us to keep these hops for one year.
Part of our stock is available for direct sale via our online store.
Packages are prepared on site and dispatched daily.
Great care is taken at every stage, and we regularly improve our processes to offer top-quality service and hops.