Together we move beer FWD (forward)


What is FWD?

FWD is an initiative to bring together breweries with innovative hop varieties and products, fostering collaboration and experimentation in brewing. Through this program, we offer access to experimental HBC (Hop Breeding Company) hop varieties and the latest Yakima Chief Hops products, promoting a stronger connection between brewers and the unique stories behind each hop. Together, we aim to move beer forward, championing novel flavors and brewing techniques.

How can I apply for the program?

You can apply online through our dedicated application form when applications are open. Applications for the coming year will open each December and close each January.

What is the application deadline?

Applications for FWD 2024 will be open from early December (specific date TBD) and will close January 2024. If you miss this deadline, you may still apply to join FWD in 2025.

How are breweries selected for the program?

Selection is based on various criteria including the brewery’s geographic location, minimum trial batch size, ability to can beer, and total annual barrelage. We also value diversity and seek a demographic balance in our selections.

Will everyone who applies get accepted into the program?

While we appreciate the interest of all breweries, not all applicants will be accepted due to limited slots. However, those who are not initially accepted will be placed on a waitlist and may have an opportunity to join the program later.

What are the responsibilities of selected breweries?

Participants are expected to actively engage in the program by providing timely feedback through product questionnaires and by engaging in two-way communication. There is also a possibility that we’ll request beer samples from select breweries for sensory and lab analysis, though not all breweries will be asked.

What happens if a brewery fails to meet their responsibilities?

Commitment is crucial to the success of this initiative. Breweries that fail to maintain their end of the agreement, such as not filling out product questionnaires in a timely manner, may be removed from the program to ensure its integrity and effectiveness.

How will the sensory and laboratory analysis work?

Only selected breweries will be approached for beer samples, due to limited panel capacity. Breweries who show commitment to the scientific method and can or one-way keg their experimental beers will be prioritized. If your beer is chosen for additional analysis, we will provide specific guidelines on how to send your samples. Your brewery will then receive a full report of the analysis results.

What should I do if I have more questions or need assistance?

Feel free to reach out to our dedicated team at [email protected]. We’re here to assist and ensure that you have a smooth experience with FWD.

What are the benefits of joining FWD?

Joining the FWD Hop Innovation Program offers a plethora of advantages for breweries:

  • Exclusive Access: Participate in an exclusive circle that gains access to experimental HBC hop varieties and groundbreaking YCH products. This allows for experimentation with unique flavors and aromas, giving you an edge in product differentiation.
  • Collaborative Growth: The program is more than hops; it’s about fostering a community of like-minded breweries. Share insights, learn from peers, and together, navigate the evolving landscape of brewing.
  • Enhanced Brand Visibility: Being a part of the FWD program can amplify your brand’s visibility in the brewing industry, as you’ll be associated with cutting-edge innovation.
  • Knowledge & Skill Enhancement: Benefit from workshops, webinars, and resources tailored to support your brewing endeavors. The program emphasizes continuous learning and sharing of best practices.
  • Feedback Loop: Receive feedback directly from consumers and fellow brewers on your experimental brews, allowing for real-time improvements and refinements.
  • Pushing Boundaries: Challenge your brewing techniques, refine your craft, and bring novel beverages to market, underlining your commitment to innovation.
  • Network Expansion: Engage with industry leaders, hop growers, and other stakeholders, expanding your network and potential for future collaborations.

Who is Yakima Chief Ranches?

Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) and Yakima Chief Ranches (YCR) are bonded through innovation. Grower-owned YCR serves as a breeding arm, focused on the development and brand management of new and select hop varieties. With an emphasis on virus-free planting solutions, YCR is consistently elevating the standards across the hop industry. YCR exists as an equal member of the Hop Breeding Company (HBC), a research and development organization committed to cultivating top-shelf hop varieties by rigorously evaluating thousands of genotypes each year. The YCH/YCR partnership has been strategically structured to generate value across the entire supply chain, for all stakeholders, from propagation to pint.