• Alaska 737-800

    Alaska Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Anchorage International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Portland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

    Year Founded:


    Ben Minicucci

    United States

Alaska Airlines, with its Alaska Air Cargo branch, is now hauling hops from Washington State farms to the US states of Alaska and Hawaii within 24 hours of harvest. With many commercial flights with cargo holds connecting Washington State to Alaska and Hawaii, the ability to timely ship hops to brewers in far-flung places rested with Alaska Airlines.

Fresh hops to fresh beer

nPhoto: Alaska Airlines”” data-img-url=”https://static1.simpleflyingimages.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/bestofhops_453.jpg” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal”>

bestofhops_453 - hops being harvested

Ripening fresh hops being harvested

Photo: Alaska Airlines

Fresh hops are vital to creating new hop beers. According to Yakima Chief Hops, using fresh hops means, among other things, fresh, grassy flavors and aromas that are unique to fresh hops that create a robust aroma profile that also includes tropical fruit, stone fruit, earthy, floral and herbal notes, all making the beer more flavorful. Hence, as per the below Yakima Chief Hops YouTube, it is a product worthy of using air cargo to ship to other brewers in a short time.

According to the Alaska Air Cargo’s blog “Cargo Connections,” to keep the hops fresh throughout their journey, the harvest was timed so that the hops could be bagged onsite at the farm immediately after picking. They were loaded into refrigerated trucks and driven to the Alaska Air Cargo offices at Sea-Tac International Airport just in time to load onto the aircraft. More than 1,200 pounds of hops were shipped nonstop to the brewers.

The logistics of this were evident to Alaska Air Cargo’s postal affairs manager Jake Spotts, a US Air Force veteran and beer enthusiast. Spotts felt that since Alaska Air Cargo was an expert in shipping fresh salmon, fresh hops were a logical additional product. For Alaska Air Cargo Managing Director Adam Drouhard, with Washington State growing almost 3/4ths of the nation’s hops,

“This puts a Northwest agricultural product in places that don’t normally get it. With the size and scope we have in Seattle, we are really positioned to own this.”

From hop bags to breweries

nPhoto: Alaska Airlines”” data-img-url=”https://static1.simpleflyingimages.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/2209_FreshHops_2344-(1).jpg” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal”>

2209_FreshHops_2344 (1) - loading fresh hops onto an Alaska Airlines 737

Alaska Airlines’ frequent service with Boeing 737s allows the airline’s air cargo division to haul fresh products in a timely manner.

Photo: Alaska Airlines

Of course, fresh hops are not fresh if not shipped within a specific timeframe. Hence, the need to use the Alaska Airlines cargo carrying capacity. As evidenced by the Alaska Airlines photography above, the cargo holds of the airline’s 300+ aircraft can move hops to far-flung breweries just as much as the growing number of freighters in the airline’s fleet.

With the freedom of Alaska Airlines’ frequent service, over 1,200 pounds of fresh hops will arrive at the Alaskan and Hawaiian brewers at the highest possible quality. In the words of Bryan Pierce, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Yakima Chief Hops,

“Scalability of shipping fresh hops has really been the challenge to overcome because you only have about 24 hours from harvest before the hops start to degrade.”

nPhoto: Alaska Airlines”” data-img-url=”https://static1.simpleflyingimages.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/2209_FreshHops_3014-(1).jpg” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal”>

2209_FreshHops_3014 (1) - bag of fresh hops

Alaska Air Cargo’s ability to timely deliver fresh hops to 49th State Brewing is key to the brewery’s ability to make new, fresh ales with rich flavor.

Photo: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Air Cargo brought to the craft beer industry the ability to provide fresh hops to breweries. With Yakima Chief Hops working on a flash-frozen concentrated Cryo Hops® product, Pierce believes that to make it successful, rapid shipping will be essential. With this, fresh hops can be global and not tied to the seasons of the Pacific Northwest. Such is the hope of the Alaska Air Cargo-led partnership with hops growers and brewers.

Sources: Alaska Air Cargo, Yakima Chief Hops,

Source: simpleflying.com

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