A New Way to IPA
Hop Valley Brewing Co. is taking the nation by storm with their wildly successful, less bitter IPAs.
To the beer aficionado, “hop valley” sounds like a wonderland. You might imagine acres of Azacca, miles of Mosaic and clusters of Citra as far as the eye can see. And while the magical Hop Valley is, unfortunately, as mythical as it sounds, Hop Valley Brewing Co. and their slate of massively popular IPAs give beer lovers a taste of hoppy paradise. Founded in 2009 in Springfield, Oregon by Walter Macbeth, Chuck Hare, Jonas Kunygys and Trevor Howard, Hop Valley quickly made a name for itself in the wildly competitive Pacific Northwest craft beer scene with a real point of difference: Cryo Hops.
The brewery first discovered in 2011 that the “dust” harvested from the inside of hop-pellet hammers contained something a little more precious: concentrated lupulin, the pollen-like material within hop cones that carries essential oils & acids used for brewing. Hop Valley used the food-grade powder to create the first of Hop Valley’s Stash series, Bubble Stash, producing a smooth-drinking, tropical and less bitter IPA that stunned their fans.
Dubbed Cryo Hops by producer Yakima Chief Hops (hop masters and a 100% grower-owned global supplier of hops based in Yakima, WA), the concentrated hop powder is now harvested by cryogenically separating the lupulin from hop cones with a nitrogen bath at sub-zero temperatures. This innovative process helps create an easier-drinking, less bitter IPA vs. traditional hops, without sacrificing the juicy flavors and tropical aromas that drinkers love.
With a roster that includes their flagship IPA Bubble Stash, Mango & Stash mango-flavored IPA, Cryo Stash Imperial IPA and Stash Panda hazy IPA, the brewery’s variety of beers are a hit with consumers.
“All of these beers are full of flavor and aroma, absolutely juicy. But there’s no bitter beer face on the back end,” Macbeth says. “It’s literally what the IPA consumer is looking for. It’s the portion of the category that is growing the most, and we are growing with it.”
The Stash series earned the brewery plenty of success in the Pacific Northwest, and plenty of attention across the U.S. In 2016, they were acquired by Molson Coors (then MillerCoors) and have honed their offerings and brand to take Hop Valley national.
The results of their nationwide expansion have been impressive – Hop Valley ranked as the #1 new craft brewer in seven states this summer, according to IRI data. It’s also the top new craft brand in the Southeast, Northeast and Great Lakes regions, and continues to post solid growth while outpacing sales of competitors with a more established and visible national footprint.
“Hop Valley is a success story,” says the brewery’s president, Adrian Benkonvich. “We’re seeing immediate results in some major markets.”
The brewery is pairing their national rollout with a robust, quirky media and engagement plan which is rooted in digital and social media to better reach their key demographic: 21-34 year-old craft drinkers. The plan is built to effectively drive awareness of the brand and its key point-of-difference through social media presence, PR & influencers, digital ads, retail POS and sampling via digital tools and the brewery’s mobile bar, the Hop Box. They’ve also secured key brand partnerships with Seattle’s new NHL team, the Kraken, and the Las Vegas Raiders.
But ultimately, the brand’s success is tied to trial – Hop Valley has a covetable 60% repeat rate with consumers.
“Once we get people to try our beers, we got ‘em,” Macbeth told Craft Business Daily. “It’s like game, set, match.”