Sunday, 20 July 2008

More on Vertical Integration

Rogue is not the only brewery vertically integrating its hops supply. Sierra Nevada will be releasing a wet hop Harvest Ale at the end of August, made with hops from its very own Chico Estate, on a separate "Chico Estate Harvest Ale" label.

This begs comparison to the growing popularity of "single origin" chocolate from a particular estate, and vertically integrating "artisan chocolatiers" like Hotel Chocolat, which owns its own cocoa estates. For beer as well as chocolate, vertical integration means less sensitivity to fluctuations in the market price and more control over quality. Like Rogue and Sierra Nevada, Hotel Chocolat still depends on cocoa purchased on the market for most of its production, but more vertical integration seems inevitable as the "artisan/craft" segment matures.

If Chico Estate Harvest Ale tastes anything like Great Divide's fresh hop offering, it is not to be missed.

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