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Hop processing

Tradition and quality of Saaz hops means a commitment to processing of this hops according to world market requirements. Chmelarství, druzstvo Zatec follows in this way tradition of many private companies, which were up to the 1930's packing and trading in hops.

The requirements of customers have radically changed since that time. Packing to growers bales or ballots began to decline in 1970´s in favour of hop pellets. It was at first the production of hop powder, which was after several years replaced entirely by production of hop pellets. Even pelleting of hops has undergone its development. At first there were pellets type 90, packed with the use of vacuum. Since 1985 pellets in Zatec are packed using the so called soft system, that is commonly used in the world.

Ever increasing requirements for hop pellets made it necessary to build another processing facility in Zatec. This facility started its operation in the spring 1993 for type 90 and in the winter of the same year also for concentrated pellets, i.e. type 45. This means that we are currently able to fulfil all requirements of our customers in this particular sphere.

As mentioned above, Chmelarství, druzstvo Zatec pays extraordinary attention to processing of hops. Evidence of this could also be the fact that in April 1999 the Zatecký chmel plant passed successfully through an international audit according to ISO 9002. The audit was carried out by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance.

Processing of hops requires a continuous supervision of quality, especially following materials and gases:

-quality and suitability of foils for packing of pellets
-quality and required parameters of cartons with regards to type of packaging
-required purity of used inert gases, in our case CO2 and N2

Chmelarství, druzstvo Zatec carefully observes problems in production of barrier foils of several European manufacturers and in co-operation with their specialists evaluates possibilities of production of foil that would fulfil all requirements for packing of taking into account price of the foil. These foils are then tested by specialists of manufacturing companies directly on packing machines of Chmelarství. Only foils that were successful in all criteria in these demanding tests are used for packing itself. Parameters of supplied foils are checked by an independent specialised company.

In the area of cartons we are also co-operating with the largest producers of cartons in Europe. Our aim is to secure such cartons that would fulfil all criteria of current market. I mean especially the strength parameters of cartons with regards to weight of packing, type of emptying at final delivery place and the form of storing and transport.

Chapter in itself could be predicting of risks especially in the case of international shipments and possible damage of cartons or bags.

Hop pellets are checked mechanically as well as in laboratory for intactness of foil and to ensure that there is a sufficient amount of inert gas inside of the bag.

The laboratory of our company is also certified and carries out all usual analysis according to EBC or MEBAK. The company takes part in a number of circle tests for research of possible differences amongst laboratories of foremost customers to ensure the quality of work of our laboratory.

Air-conditioned storage facility with the temperature +5oC was build in Zatec to ensure a proper storing. This temperature secures storing minimal loss of alpha substances during long-term. The year-round use of this storage facility confirms the fact that in this sphere the trend is in using refrigerated storage.

Aside from its business in the area of processing Chmelarstvi, druzstvo Zatec also observes new trends in related areas. For example a new type of hop press for growers has been developed that will optimise storing in cold storage with regard to its maximum use. Its effect on quality and storing is closely observed together with issues of air-conditioning of hops.

From the perspective of the use of hops in brewing specialists from Chmelarstvi, Zatec are following closely also other forms of hop processing and are trying to ascertain in the laboratory their suitability for Saaz semi-early red-bine hops, with regards to isomeration of hop pellets or extraction. Our aim is a continuous improvement of quality of our service and expanding of our offer.