Two Pacific Northwest Hop Suppliers Merge

Hopunion and Yakima Chief, two of the country’s largest hop suppliers, have announced a merger that will combine both worldwide operations under a single parent company.

According to an Aug. 1 press statement, the new entity, Yakima Chief-Hopunion LLC (YCH), has acquired the equity and assets of both companies and related entities.

“In a time of unparalleled market demand, this transaction allows us to provide long term stability to the brewing industry, builds on the rich heritage of our grower-owners, and further strengthens our commitment to investing in the industry’s future,” Don Bryant, the CEO of Hopunion LLC. said in a statement.

While both companies are in the business of bittering, Yakima Chief specializes in delivering hop products to both domestic and international brewers of varying sizes while Hopunion focuses its efforts on the craft beer segment. In fact, Hopunion is the leading hop supplier for U.S. craft brewers and the only grower-owned supplier in the craft industry.

Yakima Chief and Hopunion actually began the merger process back in 2006, however, when they integrated craft beer divisions, combined sales organizations and streamlined some of their hop pellet production.

At the time, then Hopunion general manager, Ralph Olson, said the deal would help provide more selection of hop varieties as well as better stability in the supply chain. Since the initial deal, Yakima Chief has held a minority share of Hopunion LLC but has also maintained its own independent operations.

According to this month’s press statement, by fully merging the two companies will “become a worldwide leader in hop products and services that is 100 percent owned by hop growing families.”

“Our grower-owners have always considered their investments in Yakima Chief and Hopunion as extensions of their family farms,” Yakima Chief’s Steve Carpenter said. “We look forward to honoring that generational commitment with transparency, sustainable pricing, and an uncompromising dedication to quality.”

YCH headquarters will be located in Yakima, WA. The company will continue to maintain operations in Sunnyside, WA; Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; Shenzhen, China and Hong Kong.

Hopunion CEO Don Bryant and Yakima Chief CEO Steve Carpenter will lead the newly formed company. Bryant will continue to act as CEO of the joint operation while Carpenter will serve as president and COO. Full integration is expected to be complete in 2015.