Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hops And Small Business World Trade

A nephew-in-law of mine comes from a family that grows barley for Budweiser, or America, beer.  Easy steady business.   Washington State is the world center for hops, and those who contract to grow hops for Budweiser, well, easy steady business.  Even Boring.

So hop growers, like anyone else, find different interesting.  They will be the first to tell you they will spend more time working on problem relating to hops than on their main hop business.  And then that specialization is where the growth, profits and stability lie:
"Without the advent of craft brewing, a few large, corporate growers would be supplying all of the hops and local, family-owned farms like ours would have gone bankrupt," says Diane Gooding, vice president of operations at Gooding Farms, a hop grower in Wilder, Idaho. "It's saved the industry."
Hops affect taste in beer. Brewmasters come to hop growers with problems they want to solve.  A slice of lemon is fashionable in beer, and people like the taste.  Indeed, in August and September in Germany the Radler is popular, 1/2 lemonade, 1/2 beer. Sehr gut!  A brewmanster wants a hop that imparts a citrusy taste.  No problem.
Citra™, HBC 394Citra™ is a special aroma hop variety developed by the Hop Breeding Company (a joint venture between John I. Haas, Inc. and Select Botanicals Group, LLC).   It was released in 2007.  Citra™  has fairly high alpha acids and total oil contents with a low percentage of cohumulone content. The variety imparts interesting citrus and tropical fruit characters to beer.
OK, so far so good.  Compete on design, agricultural division.  How is it doing?  Well, here are some beers in USA that employ these hops.  But that's not all, because USA exports hops too, naturellement, given the fact that we are the world center for hops.
Now, one such beer in Luxemburg is brewed with the Citra hop, Bofferding. So there is an export market for such hops. The label on the bottle advises, in French, naturellement, the beer is brewed with Citra hops from Washington State.

It gets better.  The same Bofferding beer is exported to USA.  Bofferding is the only beer from Luxemburg you can get in USA.

You have never heard of any of this because it is all small business.  Bastiat wrote about what is seen and unseen. You see Budweiser, but there is no way to get into that business as a start up.  You don't see Citra hops, or the markets around it, and so you don't see where you can compete.  There is a whole world, unseen, that needs all hands on deck.  Your way in is to experience a problem, and work on the solution.  It starts with suffering (passion) and through to joy.  That's right, there is no way to the joy of a thriving business except through pain, which is probably why so many don't start, of those who start, quit.

If you do not actually have a calling for beer, that is do not experience a problem to be solved, but go ahead for any other reason (big market! wannabe cool! pump and dump! big money!) then when you experience pain, you'll just get discouraged.  And quit. The key is those who, when experiencing the pain of any discouragement for some setback, find joy in solving that aspect of the overall problem as well.  They grow and thrive.  And this is true of every industry, even the one in which you should be involved.

We in the USA have had the passion/joy creativity dimension of our lives beaten out of us, if you grew up prior to 1980, and drugged out of us after 1980.  But it is there, and it can be retrieved.  In fact it is a prerequisite to a business that thrives.

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