Thursday, February 10, 2011

Defining Ourselves

I thought I should take a minute to address how we define ourselves and our intentions, actions, interactions, etc. I believe it is best to be vocal about who you are and what you do, and in doing so we craft our own image. Remember...if you don't define yourself, someone else will.

Okay, having said that, who is Gorst Valley Hops and what do they want?

I'll skip the elevator can find that boilerplate on our website, FB page, cut sheets, etc. Gorst Valley is a group of friends who all possess a focused expertise across all manner of disciplines bringing their considerable experience and observations to bear on a single topic: Hops.

Uh...wait a minute. Hasn't that been done already? Hops are readily available, right?
Yup. Hops are readily available from numerous sources across the globe. But Gorst Valley production has everything to do with scale, and not volume. So what does that mean?

When I approached my friends about forming GVH it was a convergence of several lines of thinking, all geared towards the idea of equitable distribution of investment in the product. Gorst Valley's objective is to see the farmer personally profit for their contributions to production.

"Whoa, this an investment banking lecture?" Hardly. Here's a crazy it possible to design a production, distribution, and consumption system that retains more value by intensely focusing on shrinking the scale of the system? If we can do this, more of the value (money) traded for these products (or services) is recycled into the system which allows those involved with the production aspects to focus on quality and sustaining their own portion of the system.

Phew! That felt good. I know it seems complicated...but it's really not. We learned this early on in our childhood: It's called sharing. But we also have to be stewards of the system, to ensure it functions and flows.

I don't plan to stop with hops. Hops are sexy because craft beer is cool. Hops get attention for being sexy and people pay attention to the message. Oh yeah...I love beer, so that helps too.

As always, thanks for your interest in what we have to say. Next lesson is on sustainable systems...



  1. Agreed. I have found that everyone in the beer business (that I've met so far) is just nice - good people all around to have in our lives.

  2. I do some brewing but lately I've noticed on brew forums discussions on hop growing, a need for mobile pelletizing. Do most producers sell their hops in bales as leaf hops or pelletize them on site? What are the pros/cons of shipping leaf bales versus bagged pellets? I'm strongly considering offering a mobile pelletizing service if the interest and need is there.

    1. Sorry for the late response, Widget51. Pellets serve a few purposes. Primarily they are easy to store, ship and use by the brewer. Whole leaf hops cause issues with heat exchanger clogging and general clean-up mess in the brewhouse. Whole leaf also and hold onto 8-10$ of the wort which equals $$$ lost to the brewer.

      Whole flowers also take up lots of room, even when baled. Compressed dried flowers have a bulk density of around 5lbs/cubic foot where pellets have a bulk density of about 25lbs/cubic foot.

      As far as pelletizing goes you had better make sure you study your state's food processing regulations. In WI, hops are considered a food product and require all the accompanied inspection, etc. Also, you will have to have considerable power to run a ring-die pellet mill if you want any sort of volume. Flat die mills are fine for hobbyists and wood pellets, but not for hops.