Last week Gladfield had the good fortune to be able to attend the HAPI symposium and festival held at Te Papa in Wellington. There was a large crowd of craft brewers and industry leaders and Gabi and I enjoyed catching up with friends and acquaintances. Hats off to Pete Gillespie, Joss Ruffell and Dave Dunbar of Freestyle hop farms who together with a team of dedicated organisers put on a well-run and informative event. Well done guys!

HAPI is a Hop research project that is based around the direct farm to brewery relationship promoting precision farming, R&D, establishing quality marks and a significant hop breeding program. The HAPI project was initiated by several Craft brewers who got together with Freestyle Farm Hops in Motueka. The whole idea is based around creating sustainable relationships where every stakeholder dealing with hops has an input and can benefit together. Through good organisation and leadership, they have managed to secure funding from the government which is a real boost for the whole brewing community and was what triggered the symposium.

I was also lucky enough to sit next to Ron Beatson who many of you will know has been instrumental over the last 30 odd years in breading the most amazing hop varieties that have put New Zealand on the world stage and for many years has been the envy of overseas suppliers. Breading new hop varieties and carrying out research around hops in brewing is nothing new. Ron and his team at Crop and Food Research have been passionate about this for years but what is new is that thanks to a few inspirational hop growers, craft brewers and some subtle changes in Government legislation now there is opportunity for the small brewers to collaborate with Hop suppliers in a way that all stakeholders in the industry can benefit.

The most humbling part about last week for Gabi and I was the number of brewers who congratulated us on our work in the malting industry and commented on how we were already 15 years ahead. There is no doubt about it last week brought back many fond memories of working closely with brewers like Richard Emerson, Mark White, Tracey Banner and Dave Edney on creating new flavours and malts that performed specifically for the craft brewers needs. We had and still have the perfect relationship between growers and brewers, and we have come up with some awesome results!

When we started out many years ago, there was a huge lack of malt flavours available domestically for the beer styles of the time not to mention a lack of consistency. Our traditional Ale malt with warm toasty characteristics that we developed especially for Richard Emerson went hand in hand with our rich malty flavour Pilsner. However, customers requirements are always changing and so to are beer styles.

Gabi and I, along with our capable production team at Gladfield have been working with brewers for the last 15 years developing new malts to give the brewers a better result and an edge over their competitors. We have developed malts such as our American Ale and German Pilsner with lower flavour profiles, especially for more hop forward beers. Despite altering flavour characteristics, we have been able to retain the important brewing traits in all of Gladfield’s base malts such as giving body and stability to the beer without overfermentation. This is done through our unique steeping and germination regime that no other malting company has been able to replicate. In effect our research and development allowed us to create malt with low K.B. yet high Friability and excellent yields.

Gladfield have constantly been innovating and improving to keep our customers one jump ahead of the field.

We worked with Panhead before they were brought out, by developing our Toffee malt which has been instrumental in accelerating a number of beer labels into the spotlight. We developed Gladfield’s Shepard’s Delight for Dave Edney at Mountain Goat. This malt has later become the backbone of many worlds leading red beers. Then there is our Chocolate malt, Eclipse wheat, Supernova, Maize malt and Manuka smoke which won Gold for Mat Thomson at the world Distilling awards.

The list goes on, we have always been steadily working away quietly behind the scenes here in little old Dunsandel with individual Brewers, Distillers and Bakers perfecting and developing new and better malts to help grow the industries, fuelled purely by Gladfield’s passion to please people.

We love what we do at Gladfield and we love being inspirational in our own quite country kind of way, we love being the underdog and surprising the giants. It’s great travelling the world and tasting our malts in some awesome beers where we know that Gladfield has helped raise the bar!

Full marks to Pete and the boys for a great event last weekend we look forward to continuing to work alongside everyone as we grow the industry together!