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I understand the desire to protect the industry IP, however I wonder... (in the abscence of your sales figures by market segment) the potential to grow the Micro Brewery sales segment via encouragement of local trialing of NZ hop varieties in the home brewer market.
I see home brewers as the early adopters of new craft beers. I would suggest all avenues of promoting the NZ hop flavour in the the home brew circle as a positive step towards encouraging damand for craft beers with a NZ hop signature.
Inability to source key favourites such as Riwaka and Fuggles is quietly driving us early adopters to search out other alternatives. I am a very patriotic person, but due to poor local hop availability and excessive protectionism, I tend to find myself increasingly sourcing American hops, not unlike many of our leading craft brewers.
I say promote the NZ hop flavour locally by all and every means, including local rhyzome sales. As I understand it, our bio security laws would still prohibit the export of living hop material from our shores. (please correct me if I'm wrong but even then, why not lobby to get such a law put in place)
In a nut shell, if I was going to protect anything, it would be the methods and processes (IP) used to develop the new desireable hop varieties. Speed to develop and commercialise the next best hop is possibly the winner in today's craft brewery market which I suspect is the fastest growing segment.
PS: I'm all for keeping it local
Yep my smooth cone has climbed up and across the fence, and the Danscade is up and along the carport. My other two named varieties have not survived....