Shaping the Future of Hops: Bract Brewing Programme

Shaping the Future of Hops: Bract Brewing Programme

Posted by Winslow Sawyer

2 years ago | July 28, 2022

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 58 seconds

We are honored to be one in a select group of breweries invited to participate in a global initiative to shape the future of hop flavors and aromas. The Bract Brewing Programme is a New Zealand-based hop breeding partnership that will select and develop entirely unique hop varietals over the next decade; these hops will be disease resistant, thrive in New Zealand’s unique coastal climate, and exhibit bold flavors and aromas.

HopsNZ Hops Ltd., a cooperative of innovative Master Growers in New Zealand, are the creators of this advanced trial hop program. Since the beginning of Pure Project, we have been sourcing an array of hop varietals from NZ Hops and their co-op partners for our beer, including Motueka, Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin, and more. These hops are being grown with the utmost integrity, and we respect NZ Hops and their passion to produce some of the best hops in the world.

And growing beer’s tasty core ingredient is no simple or quick process, as it can take anywhere from 10-20 years to breed hops that have the most desirable growing traits and flavor profiles. Needless to say, we are beyond excited to be a part of NZ Hops’ Bract Brewing Programme—opportunities like this don’t come around every day!



NZ Hops is world renowned for being a leader of the industry. Using environmentally friendly and sustainable growing techniques, the farmers produce high-quality, aromatic hops that are grown with minimal use of insecticides, herbicides, miticides, or fungicides. Their commitment to sustainability is also shown in their dedication to keeping carbon emissions low throughout production.

Even though we are based in California, sourcing hops from New Zealand is more sustainable than sourcing hops from here in the United States. According to the 2022 CO2 Emissions analysis published by the Hop Growers of America, Freestyle Hops, located in Upper Moutere, New Zealand, generated a low 3.78 kg of CO2 emissions per 1kg of aroma hop pellets, while U.S. hops generated higher CO2 emissions at an average of 4.13 kg per 1kg of aroma hop pellets.

This difference in CO2 emissions between New Zealand and the U.S. is mainly due to two contributing factors: pesticide usage and transportation. The majority of the U.S. hop production carbon footprint is from pesticide application, and many of the pests and blites that affect Northern Hemisphere hops do not exist in New Zealand. In addition, hops from New Zealand are shipped almost entirely by ocean freight (rather than by trucking in the U.S.), which is recognized as the most energy-efficient form of commercial transportation.

As a brewery that also has a strong commitment to preserving the planet’s resources, Pure Project is proud to partner with companies like NZ Hops and Freestyle Hops, and to use New Zealand-grown hops in our beers. 



As part of the program, we will be brewing a series of beers over the next year that will use these experimental hops. We’re calling the series  NZed (because, you know, “z” in much of the world–including New Zealand–is pronounced “zed”). The NZed beers will be rolling out on draft in our taprooms one by one, and we invite you to taste each beer and provide your feedback. Together, we can help shape the future of hops!

To create the fairest comparison, we will be brewing each NZed beer using the same process and the same ingredient quantities, but will be switching out the hop varietals. This will allow the hops to really shine, and make their unique individual flavor profiles and aromas more distinguishable.



We need your help to decide which hop varietals form the best beer! Here’s how you can participate:

  •  Order any of the NZed beers at our taprooms
  •  Scan the QR code noted on the table tents
  •  Evaluate the beer’s flavors and aromas 
  •  Influence the future of beer!


Our next experimental beer of the series, NZed 106, is available at all five Pure Project taprooms now. We can’t wait to hear what you think!

*NZed 106 is available while supplies last. Be sure to check your local tap list for availability.