The Yakima Valley Hops Story
It all started with the search for hops. Jeff Perkins and John Snyder wanted to start homebrewing, but they weren’t able to find the hops they were looking for. “We realized that there was a serious problem, because we are in the heart of hop country, and still couldn’t find hops for homebrewing,” said Snyder. “We were driving past field after field of hops, but weren’t able to buy any for brew day.”
Jeff and John, childhood friends born and raised in Yakima, Washington, were attending Central Washington University at the time. They asked Jeff’s roommate, whose family owns a hop distribution company, for some hops to brew with. They only asked for a couple ounces, but were given a giant bag. Now they had more hops than they knew what to do with. So they hatched a plan. Like any good college kids, they headed down to the local brewery to try and trade hops for beer, and while that plan was fairly genius for college kids, they took it one step farther and started selling their extra hops on eBay.
During the summer of 2012, Jeff and John took over Jeff’s Dad’s garage and turned it into their new hop headquarters. They bought all the old freezers they could find, started vacuum packing the hops, and selling them to homebrewers. But they couldn’t keep the hops in stock because they were selling so fast. Homebrewers across the country were happy to finally have access to quality hops.
They kept plugging in more and more freezers for the hops, but soon found that the garage wasn’t big enough for them. In 2013 they moved to an old warehouse that was located on Yakima’s historic Fruit Row. The old building was almost 100 years old, but Jeff and John slowly transformed it into a fully-stock homebrew supply store. The store soon became a staple in the local brewing community and was also a tourist destination for brewers and beer lovers alike.
Just like how they outgrew their physical space, they soon found that they had outgrown eBay. They opened up an eCommerce store at YakimaValleyHops.com and it was an instant success. Homebrewers were hungry for quality hops and brewing ingredients and loved that they were getting their hops fresh from the source. As YakimaValleyHops.com grew, Jeff and John started getting requests from commercial craft brewers. Many commercial brewers also lacked access to quality hops, so in 2015 SpotHops.com was born to fill that need.
By 2019 Yakima Valley Hops was the supplier of choice for over 40,000 homebrewers and 4,000 craft brewers around the world. In order to keep supplying all these brewers with the best hops, Yakima Valley Hops partnered with industry leader John I. Haas. This partnership allowed brewers of every size to have access to premium selected lots of top tier varieties like Citra®, Mosaic®, and even the impossible-to-find varieties like Galaxy® and Nelson Sauvin™.
The partnership also opened up access to John I. Haas’ innovative portfolio of Advanced Hop Products. This gave every brewer a chance to experience a better way to brew with products like INCOGNITO®, LUPOMAX®, and FLEX®.
While Yakima Valley Hops is still a small company, our team is growing and there are now 25 people working on the mission to provide the best hops to brewers of every size. The whole crew keeps hustling every day to keep getting better and making it even easier to brew with the hops that you love. Happy brewing!
- Olivia Newman