Hop garden wins award

Hogs Back Brewery has won the prestigious Grain-to-Glass Award at the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) annual dinner and awards ceremony, for the first hop harvest from the brewery’s own hop garden.

The award recognises the Surrey brewer’s commitment to sustainability and engagement with the local community.

The team responsible for bringing the hop garden initiative to life – managing director Rupert Thompson, head brewer Miles Chesterman, hop manager Matthew King and sales director Gordon Thompson – collected the award at a London ceremony, attended by more than 400 senior pub and beer industry figures.

Rupert Thompson said, …We’re absolutely delighted that our initiative has been recognised by the BBPA and our colleagues in the industry. It’s a tribute not just to the team at Hogs Back, but also to all our friends and neighbours who have supported the return of hop growing to the Tongham area and even helped with the harvest it. The hop garden really seems to have struck a chord.

…Growing our own hops has been a huge education but we really believe it is making us better brewers. Being able to go out into the hop garden and pick your own hops is a real privilege and a thrill. You can’t get fresher or more local than that.”

The Grain-to-Glass award is made to a business that has demonstrated excellence and innovation in addressing a significant supply chain challenge. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: …Hogs Back Brewery is a worthy winner of the Grain-to-Glass award, with the judging panel particularly impressed by the involvement of the entire community in the hop garden.”

The 3,000 hop plants, cultivated on a 3.5 acre plot just over the road from the brewery, yielded a total of 18 zentners – a traditional measure of hops, equivalent to around 50 kilograms. The highlight was the first commercial harvest of the historic Farnham White Bine, a hop variety which Hogs Back has revived in the 250th anniversary year of its development by local hop farmer Mr Peckham Williams of nearby Badshot Lea, and which is not grown anywhere else in the world.

Pictured at the BBPA awards ceremony are (l to r) Gordon Thompson, sales director; Rupert Thompson, managing director: Matthew King, hop manager; and Miles Chesterman, head brewer of Hogs Back Brewery.