Question: What is one of the biggest disadvantages for breweries in Florida?   

HINT:  It’s about 3,000 miles from Yakima to Tampa. 

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a cold storage hop warehouse centrally located in Florida?  And better yet, wouldn’t it be great if a Florida brewery could get FREE SHIPPING from that warehouse? 

Well, hang on to your flip-flops.  Keg Connect and eLease in St. Petersburg, Florida just announced that they are partnering with Glacier Hops Ranch to establish the first cold storage warehouse for hops in Florida. 

Here were the official quotes announcing the partnership:  

“The cost of freight from the main hop cold-storage warehouses in the Pacific NW is a significant hurdle for brewers to do business in our primary service area in the SE United States,” said Tom Williams, CEO of eLease. “Our goal is to help brewers reduce their operating costs by offering free shipping of hops from our St. Pete keg warehouse when they take shipments of kegs from Keg Connect.  

He added, “this is especially timely because of the increased operating cost pressures for everything from aluminum to labor and fuel.  This is a direct reduction in cost through exploiting efficiencies.” 

So how can this possibly work?  Isn’t this just some sleight of hand pricing gimmick? 

No.  The “Free Shipping” offer allows Keg Connect to take advantage of dead air space on top of its keg pallets, to simply be able to stack boxes of hop pellets destined for the brewery customer.  Shipping of these boxes of hop pellets is at no additional cost for the keg customer, as long as they fit on the keg pallet, and in the truck. 

It’s not rocket science, really.  eLease and Keg Connect are simply exploiting an opportunity to offer more value to their keg customers.  Breweries need kegs, and they need hops.  Keg Connect has dead air space in their trucks.  It made too much sense, they told us over a beer. 

Breweries can also stop by the keg warehouse and pick up hop boxes, with no freight cost or pickup charge. There are, after all, 88 breweries within 45 miles of this keg warehouse in St. Pete.  Plus, if a brewery doesn’t need kegs when they need a shipment of hops, hops can still be shipped to them via the most cost-effective means, with the notable exception that they will be originating from that St. Pete warehouse, instead of from the Pacific Northwest, 3,000 miles away.   

eLease and Keg Connect told us that they were looking for an innovative partner in the hop supply business.  One who could provide them with a wide variety of quality hops suited to the range of beers produced by Florida and other SE brewers.  In the end, they chose GHR as their hop supply partner.   

It’s a win-win for everybody. 

Sure, at GHR we pride ourselves in offering a wide variety of competitively priced, high-quality hop pellets, but hop pellet boxes are bulky, heavy, and have to be stored properly at predictable cold temperatures for optimal quality.  The bugaboo in Florida and the Southeast U.S. has always been the high cost of freight from the main cold storage hop warehouses to this region. 

We’re happy to be a real part of a serious solution.

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