Q&A with Zak Schroelucke of Crosby Hop Farm
“For some reason I really want a beer now...”
Tell us about Crosby Hop Farm!
Crosby Hop Farm is a leading hop grower, merchant and processor. For five generations, the Crosby family has grown hops in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley, just 45 minutes south of Portland. As a Salmon-Safe grower and Certified B Corporation®, we’re proud to use our business as a force for good, and we are grounded by our core values: quality, sustainability, innovation and community. We’ve been growing hops for over 100 years and love connecting with craft brewers from all over the world.
How did the Crosby/SweetWater partnership on Second Helping come about?
Funny enough, I actually used to work for SweetWater. I consider them my family. I was working in the tasting room when Second Helping was in development by Nick and Ryan and fell in love with the idea that beer could be used to better communities and help those in need. I was hooked on that concept and Giving Kitchen as an organization.
As time went on, I moved to Portland, OR and began a new career working for Crosby Hop Farm after nine great years at SweetWater. Not too long after, one of my best friends, Bryan Schroeder, became the Executive Director for GK and proposed the idea of partnering on this beer by brewing with Crosby-grown hop varieties. It was the perfect opportunity to marry my current role at Crosby with the Atlanta restaurant community I was so connected to in the past. Great people. Great cause. Great beer. Easy: YES!
Can you talk about the specifics of Crosby’s contribution to the 2018 batch of Second Helping?
We donated Crosby®-grown Centennial, Chinook and Cascade hops to reduce the brewing costs for the beer, and as a result, to increase the funds raised for Giving Kitchen. SweetWater donates 100 percent of the proceeds to GK, so this felt like a great way to contribute. We also donated a farm tour for the live auction held at the annual Team Hidi fundraising event. We’re stoked to hang out with the winners of that one!
What’s your favorite thing about this year’s batch of Second Helping?
Other than awesome hops, I would have to say the fact that Second Helping is available in 16-ounce cans! I love sharing great beer in many settings. Whether it’s on a hike or urban excursion, tasty beer in tall boy cans always comes in handy.
Why was it important for you to partner on a project to support Giving Kitchen?
Giving Kitchen directly supports the community that serves craft beer (both figuratively and literally) and keeps our industry healthy. These passionate individuals who spread the gospel of great beer one pint at a time help the craft beer industry grow and prosper. The industry is an ecosystem, and we need to take care of all the parts.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We’re thrilled to partner with SweetWater Brewing Company and Giving Kitchen on this brew! Not only is there a great cause behind it, but the beer is REALLY GOOD. I’m a big fan of juniper and feel the hop bill pairs nicely with the resinous pine flavor that comes from juniper berries. Great for food pairings, and awesome on its own. For some reason I really want a beer now...