- 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
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
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