Our Response to COVID-19

by | Dec 3, 2020

We understand that the coronavirus has largely impacted small, consumer-based businesses like yours the most, leaving many of you uncertain of what the future holds. We see our brewing customers getting creative and working hard to promote sales in any way they can. We applaud you all for your tenacity during these unexpected times and continue to be inspired by the passion of the entire brewing community.

As your hop supplier, we want you to know that we are here for you. Next to safety, protecting the well-being of our brewing and grower partners is a top priority. We know that the battle against this virus is not over and we are committed to working with you and your brewery over the coming months to promote the financial stability of our customers.

At Yakima Chief Hops, we aim to do more than just supply hops. We aim to be a resource for both the hop and brewing industries. Below you will find some helpful tips and suggestions, as you navigate these challenging times.

In addition, with the restrictions placed on large events, travel and in-person meetings, we are looking at new ways to connect with our brewing partners through videos, webinars and virtual tours. Stay tuned to our social platforms and email newsletters as we continue to enhance your connection with the family hop farms that supply your hops – digitally.

Click here to view our official risk mitigation chart. This will be updated as needed. Last updated: December 4, 2020.

Account Support

We want to support you and your business in any way that we can, as you face these significant financial challenges. However, just as each brewery is unique, each brewery is uniquely affected by these new government restrictions. There is no one size fits all solution.

If you have not been in touch already, please reach out to your YCH sales team to discuss potential options that specifically apply to your brewery and account. Possible options that may alleviate some of your financial stress include free shipping that we will make available whenever you are able to resume operations.

We strongly encourage regular communications between you and your sales manager and customer support specialists. As we learn more and the situation continues to evolve over time, we promise to stay nimble and be there to assist. Please utilize our talented sales staff. They are prepared to work with you in this time of need.

Remaining a Sustainable Brewery

Hop Quality

We know that our brewing partners are working hard to adjust to the ever-changing circumstances and restrictions in order to maintain long-term sustainability. As many breweries have been forced to cease operations for an unknown period of time, we want to provide you with a couple reminders to help mitigate any effects this delay may have on your current hop inventory.

  • Yakima Chief Hops provides the highest quality packaging, using a sophisticated nitrogen flush process that provides storage stability for three years. Kept in cold storage (the colder, the better), your quality hops will remain intact when it’s time to brew again.
  • In addition to cold storage in your brewery, utilizing cold transport can enhance the storability of hops. We have found that if hop products and packaging experience heat during transportation, it can sometimes lead to the degradation of quality. Paying the extra cost for cold shipping can help extend the shelf life of hop products that cannot be used right away. For breweries where our free shipping support is applicable, we will still cover the cost of standard shipping, significantly decreasing the total cost of cold transport.

Promoting Beer Sales

As a hop supplier that works with the global brewing industry, we work closely with all types of breweries and pay attention to the creative endeavors they are making to sell their beer. Over the past few months, we have seen some clever sales promotions from breweries as they work to engage with consumers while abiding government restrictions.

We’ve rounded up a few to create a check list of different options for our brewing partners:

  • Offering curbside service and taproom pick up Creating a “drive-thru” experience for customers
  • Providing home delivery services
  • Partnering with third party delivery services such as Grub Hub or Postmates
  • Hosting “virtual happy hours” on social media platforms to encourage customers to share a beer with others via video chat
  • Promoting online orders for merchandise and gift cards, encouraging customers to support their local brewery

Remaining Sustainable at YCH

On the Farm

Since 1869, hop growers have experienced many ups and downs in the industry, persevering through each obstacle and learning valuable lessons along the way. Together with our growers, we have worked hard to be where we are at today, perfecting the connection between farmers and brewers to enhance the health of our supply chain.

As a grower-owned organization, we have the unique ability to help our growers react to unexpected changes, as much as an agricultural product will allow. With a strong connection to the family farms that supply your hops, we work to help them make any foreseeable acreage adjustments to the upcoming growing season.

While the coronavirus has led to some unexpected challenges, we were fortunate that there was time to adjust the planting efforts in the field to meet the potential decrease in demand following the 2020 harvest. We as an organization have spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating possible scenarios and understanding how we can remain as balanced as possible.

We worked diligently alongside our grower partners to make immediate reductions to our needs. We are sensitive to the fact that this has had a large financial impact on our growers, however, we are all in this together as we work to maintain stability. A healthy supply chain benefits everyone.

Click here to hear from one of our grower owners on how they addressed COVID-19 at the farm level during the 2020 growing season. 

In our Facilities

At Yakima Chief Hops, we value the dedicated employees working within our production facilities to produce, package and ship your hops. These employees are also the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of current government restrictions, as they cannot fulfill their roles from home like our administrative staff.

It is important that we support these talented and experienced team members during this time to maintain our staff. We are offering full-time Pandemic Pay to anyone who is unable to work due to illness, caring for a family member who is ill, or caring for a child due to school closures.

Promoting the welfare of our employees has always been a part of our company culture and our efforts to remain a sustainable organization. Putting our employees first helps to maintain the health of our organization and ensure that we will continue to be a reliable supplier for the brewing industry.

We hope you find these resources to be helpful, as we look to support our brewing partners during these times of uncertainty. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback. We look forward to a time when we, as a community, can raise a glass and cheers to the challenges we overcame together.

Sincerely, Yakima Chief Hops