Last month the John Fearless team attended the 2018 installment of the Cerveza Mexico trade show and festival in Mexico City, helping its Mexican distributor Republica Cervecera showcase to the country’s craft brewers the high-quality US, New Zealand and South African hops that Fearless can provide.
The show was very well-attended and bigger in size than last year: there are now over 600 craft breweries in Mexico, a tripling in just three years, clustered foremost in Baja California on the border with the US, as well as in Monterrey in eastern Mexico and, further south, Guadalajara and Mexico City. Fearless’s business in Mexico has shadowed this rise, with Republica Cervecera requiring more Fearless hops more frequently.
The quality of the craft beers being produced in Mexico has risen noticeably even in just the past couple of years and with this growing sophistication comes increased demand for higher-quality, specialty hops. Unlike in the US, where IPAs predominate, Mexican craft brewers often offer a wider range of malt-forwards lagers, pilsners and pale ales, all generally at lower ABVs than in the US. They thus require hops that provide subtler aromas and this demand for subtle, more sophisticated hops is where Fearless comes in.
Fearless, through Republica Cervecera, is the first to offer South African hops to Mexican craft brewers, with African Queen, Southern Passion and Southern Aroma the most popular. Fearless is also one of the main suppliers of New Zealand hops to Mexico; of these, Motueka, Taiheke and Southern Cross have been in particular demand. Of the US-grown hop offering, Medusa – the varietal 100% indigenous to North America including Mexico – has understandably especially resonated.
At Cerveza Mexico, Fearless gave workshops educating Mexican craft brewers about the history of hop growing in South Africa and New Zealand, what is unique about their respective growing areas and what unique attributes their hop varietals possess. These workshops were followed by interactive sessions in which attendees had the chance to rub and smell hop samples, then try a beer exclusively hopped by those varietals. In addition, some of Fearless’s New Zealand hops were used in the making of Cerveza Mexico 2018’s official beer – a real feather in the cap for the company.
While the main part of Republica Cervecera’s business is malt, it has been expanding into hops with the assistance of Fearless. It is hoped that Fearless’s other products – such as Humuflor hop essence – will be introduced onto the Mexican market over time. With Mexico the world’s 11th most populous country, with per capita consumption there reportedly at 62 litres per person, there is significant room for further craft beer growth.
John Fearless can provide: aroma and bittering hops; Humuflor hop essences; Stoak all-natural liquid oak extracts for wine and beer making; used wine, bourbon, whiskey and rum barrels; used foeders; base and specialty malt; and fruit concentrates, purees, juices, and powders