2024 Australian Hop Report: Everything You Need to Know About Galaxy, Vic Secret

Published: May 31, 2024
Hand holding a pair of Eclipse hop cones

There are many wildly popular hops in the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia’s Galaxy, Vic Secret, and Eclipse, to name a few. Brewers in the U.S., and worldwide, rely on these hops to make great beers year-round, which is why understanding how the hops performed in a given year’s harvest is integral to setting up a brew schedule, deciding what to brew, and figuring out whether to spot purchase or lock into a contract.

A year ago, Australia reported an uptick in both hectares picked and tonnes of hops. Hop Products Australia (HPA) earlier this month released a nine-page report about the 2024 harvest (picked in April and early May), explaining a planned regression to help deplete the surplus in hops across the globe.

We talked with HPA and dug into the data to analyze the results of Australia’s 2024 hop harvest.

Looking for more hop reports? According to the 2023 U.S. hop report, acreage fell a little across the Pacific Northwest region, but pounds picked rose. See the full coverage here.

(Above photography courtesy of Hop Products Australia)

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What Was Hop Production in Australia Like in 2024?

The hop conditioning floor at Hop Products Australia

Photography courtesy of Hop Products Australia

The HPA reported picking 670 hectares across Victoria and Tasmania, resulting in 1,340 tonnes of hops. Those numbers were down from 177 hectares and 480 tonnes a year ago, respectively.

“A lot of that is deliberate,” HPA Head of Sales and Marketing Owen Johnston says. “We took a deliberate reduction in production by twenty-one percent … trying to help the industry get over the hump of overproduction.”

Johnston says that they refer to the planned reduction—down 26.4 percent year-over-year—as idling, where the crops remain in the field but are held out for the specific harvest season. This reduction helped produce more impactful hops.

We made rapid responses to the market.
Owen Johnston - HPA

“The acreage reduction allowed us to focus on quality,” says Johnston, noting that they worked with the heart of the crop while considering the head and tail of the hop. “When we know we’re managing output, it provides an opportunity to deliver a high-quality outcome.”

Johnston adds, “We’re hyper-focused on Aussie hop quality.”

The hop kiln floor at Hop Products Australia

Photography courtesy of Hop Products Australia

HPA is at an advantage, according to Johnston, because it is the lone grower of Galaxy, Vic Secret, and other notable hops.

“We are one company and can make decisions on certain hops in a season,” he says. “We made rapid responses to the market.”

The country’s most popular hop, Galaxy, shows how hop quality improved across the board.

“Galaxy’s oil content is up on its five-year average,” Johnston says. “That will bring more bang on your buck.”

By managing the harvest window, Johnston says, “We think we positioned ourselves to have the right oil and flavor in Galaxy.”

Johnston points out that Enigma was up there with Galaxy among the top-performing hops of this year’s harvest, with both above five-year averages on oils and alphas.

“[It] should lead to a great year of true-to-type flavors and aromas in beer,” he said in the news release.

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What Were the Most Harvested Hops in Australia in 2024?

All the hops grown in Australia remained the same in terms of production output, with Galaxy being the top hop by far.

Galaxy produced 879 tonnes, down 19.8 percent from the 1,096 tonnes in 2023. Vic Secret dipped nearly 22 percent from 320 tonnes in 2023 to 251 tonnes this year. No other hop produced 70 tonnes. The third most-produced hop, Eclipse, rose 70 percent year-over-year in last year’s harvest with 161 tonnes and had the most significant drop in 2024 at 56.9 percent, producing 69 tonnes.

Ella (55 tonnes, 37.3 percent drop), Enigma (41 tonnes, 47.8 percent drop), and Topaz (28 tonnes, 54 percent drop) ranked fourth through sixth, respectively. Cascade, with 18 tonnes produced, had a 0.6 percent increase from a year ago.

“The reduced acreage with the idled areas sets us up well when we bring them up to production,” Johnston says. “It created the opportunity of quality [over] quantity that we got here now.”

He adds, “It’s better to be a little short than a little sh*t.”

A top cutter harvesting hops

Photography courtesy of Hop Products Australia

Johnston says HPA is not concerned over a single hop, such as Galaxy, having a high volume compared to the others grown in the country.

“It has some advantages, such as delivering on expectations,” says Johnston, who adds that while they’d love to have another hop with that tonnage, the disparity isn’t unusual. “We’ve become famous for one hop like a brewery gets famous for a single beer.”

The popularity of Galaxy is more right-time, right-place, Johnston says.

An infographic detailing the 2024 Australian Hop Harvest results

Graphic courtesy of Hop Products Australia

“If we released Eclipse in 2009 instead of Galaxy, we’d be in the same spot, just flipped,” he says. “Our hops are all amazing, but timing is everything.”

Johnston adds, “The question now is, ‘How do we bring the next hop variety to a global brand name?’”

Of HPA’s six proprietary hops, all were at or above the five-year average in oil content. Only Cascade dropped in its five-year oil-content average. Galaxy, Enigma, and Cascade saw slight increases in alpha content over the five-year average. In contrast, Eclipse, Ella, Topaz, and Vic Secret saw slight drops in the five-year alpha content average.

Johnston says that the overall quality is up.

“We also made some practical changes,” Johnston shares. “We upgraded the quality of our foil, and we introduced a sensory screening process to make sure only great material goes into the pellet blend.”

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How Does the Australian Hop Harvest Affect the U.S. Market?

The hop cleaning banks at Hop Products Australia

Photography courtesy of Hop Products Australia

For U.S. brewers: The hops in 2024 in Australia are going to work, and we can say that with confidence.
Owen Johnston - HPA

“Availability is really good,” Johnston says, adding that U.S. brewers who buy into Australian hops will benefit from the “continuation of the trajectory to improving quality out of Aussie hops.”

“2023 was high quality and impact to beer,” Johnston says. “For U.S. brewers: The hops in 2024 in Australia are going to work, and we can say that with confidence.”

Johnston says that HPA would like to get the idled crops going again but needs to see movement in forward contracts.

“We expect to see very limited forward contracting at this point [but] expect to see good spot buying,” he says. “We need to see forward contracts as an indication of what varieties to grow and what quantities.”

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What Might Be in Store for the 2025 Hop Harvest?

An exterior photo of the Tasmannia Post at Hop Products Australia

Photography courtesy of Hop Products Australia

Johnston says once they pick crops, HPA immediately turns the page to the next harvest. Going into the new season, the expectation is that Australia will experience much of the same and won’t grow one hundred percent of the land.

“It’s fine,” Johnston says. “We will still work on process, system, smart agriculture, pelleting, and production.”

He adds, “I see a flat spot, but we welcome that to see a quality increase for brewers.”

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Ollie author headshot for Giovanni Albanese, Jr.

About The Author

Giovanni Albanese

Giovanni is a content writer for Next Glass, contributing to the Ollie blog. He is a writer by day and a brewer/business owner by night, owning and operating Settle Down Brewery & Taproom in Gilroy, California.

Giovanni is passionate about a number of things, including history, documentaries and sports, but none more than reporting/writing and brewing beer. After receiving a radio broadcasting degree then a journalism degree from Salem State College in his home state of Massachusetts, he relocated to California in 2008.

Then, his writing career kicked off – covering sports, business, politics and more along the way – while concurrently dabbling in home brewing. The home brewing turned pro in 2021 when he launched SDB Brewing Company. Settle Down Beer officially opened in February.

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