This involves a great deal more than simply delivering hops that give no cause for complaint: we consider it our duty to investigate everything worth knowing on the subject of hops and to place the knowledge we acquire at the disposal of our customers.
In order to meet these aspirations, we have undertaken numerous initiatives in recent years which are based on the following principles:
ENTHUSIASM FOR OUR PRODUCT AND COMMITMENT TO THE SUCCESS OF ALL OUR CUSTOMERS
Since 2011, 3 volumes of the Hop Aroma Compendium have been published. In these reference works, we explain systematically and in a well-founded manner the aroma characteristics of hop varieties available worldwide. With these descriptions of a total of 125 varieties, we have been able to support our customers in making their products more interesting and more targeted.
As a natural product, the hop is subject to seasonal conditions: depending on the weather and other climate influences, the specific features of any given hop variety’s aroma can develop slightly differently. Our exclusive annual variety guide, issued each year since 2014, solves this problem for our customers. We are able to give them everything they need to plan their hop usage on an annual basis and ensure they get the exact flavour results they want.
In 2011 we set up our SIMPLY HOPS online shop especially for those in the craft beer scene who love to experiment and for traditional small and home brewers. The entire BARTH-HAAS GROUP quality range, with all its varieties and products, is available to order simply and flexibly – even in the smallest quantities. (www.simplyhops.com)
INNOVATION AND EXPANSION OF HOP APPLICATIONS
In 2010, Barth Innovations Ltd. was founded as a central R&D facility to pool our European research activities. Its aim is to develop hop products for known and new applications and give support to our customers on technical aspects of implementation.
The objectives of Barth Innovations Ltd.:
- To develop innovative, hop-based products, primarily for the global brewing industry
- To optimise manufacturing processes within the Group’s companies
- To extend application-related and technical support for the use of our products
- To develop an R&D program relevant to the future needs of the BARTH-HAAS GROUP
- To intensify co-operation with universities and other institutions
Our research brewery in St. Johann, established in 1997, enables our customers to test their own creations. Additionally, in 2012 we installed a micro-brewing facility at our Nuremberg headquarters. This allows us to react even more flexibly and quickly to new developments in hop varieties, products and beer styles.
INCREASING EXPERTISE IN HOPS
The BARTH-HAAS HOPS ACADEMY was established in 2010 in order to create a better understanding of the complexity of the hop and its full potential. Having in-depth knowledge of the use and action of this special brewing ingredient enables the brewer to optimise process efficiency and develop distinctive, high-quality beers.
In a logical progression of the HOPS ACADEMY concept, in 2012 we founded the BARTH HOPFEN-AKADEMIE, which brought sustainability aspects to the attention of hop growers alongside production and business administration topics. This ensures among other things that our suppliers are aware of our customers’ special requirements and can take appropriate action.
Our Technical Sales Support department has grown further and ensures that contacts are permanently available to answer our customers’ technical questions – from the correct and efficient use of our products to developing entire beverage formulations.
This strategy is embedded in systematic and comprehensive quality and product safety management which extends along the entire value creation chain, from hop growing to hop processing and to the use of the products.
QUALITY AND PRODUCT SAFETY ARE OUR TOP PRIORITIES
- With innovative product development, professional advice and the best service, we are able to work across departments as a team not only to satisfy our customers, but to delight them, too.
- In its 222-year company history, Joh. Barth & Sohn has proved again and again what it means to be a reliable partner for the brewing industry all over the world and, even in difficult times, to remain true to the high standards we have set ourselves.
- Quality and product safety are the top priorities for Joh. Barth & Sohn: we guarantee that we will always deliver high-quality products and services. We work closely with our customers to find good solutions that are acceptable for both parties, even in difficult situations. This was the case in the past and will continue to be so in the future.
QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
When systems interact properly.
For more than two decades, Barth has used a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS) in line with the standardisation regulations of ISO 9001:2008. This QM system is fundamental to all relevant areas of the company. Our express goal is to continuously improve the quality of our products and services.
The QMS is the foundation for controlling and documenting all important processes. The QMS describes the methodology and supplies the tools used by our staff in their individual processes for ensuring and improving quality. All the necessary documents and instructions can be accessed by each member of staff on our Intranet at any time.
In October 2015, as part of the recertification audit carried out by TÜV Süd every three years, it was confirmed that Joh. Barth & Sohn fulfilled all the QMS requirements according to ISO 9001:2008. In the next three years we will be working intensively on adapting our QMS to the latest version of the ISO standard 9001:2015.
Evidence of our diligence.
The BARTH-HAAS GROUP acts according to the principle of only offering safe and top-class hop products. This is verified by numerous certificates from well-known independent testing institutes. An overview of the various certificates is available in our media library.
Safety first – that’s our guarantee!
As part of our commitment to providing safe, top-quality hop products, Joh. Barth & Sohn has developed and introduced HACCP programmes at all its company locations. HACCP is an internationally recognised management system focused on the prevention of food-related safety problems.
Since 2006, the international HACCP guidelines have also been an integral part of our ISO 9001 QM system and therefore subject to regular audits and certification.
During the development of our HACCP programme, all aspects of production were examined, from raw material procurement to storage and distribution of the end product.
Tests were carried out to establish whether a hop product is liable to a naturally occurring or process-induced safety hazard. Safety hazards, for example, can be the biological (principally microbiological), chemical and/or physical properties of a product that have the potential to injure or cause illness in the end user.
A comprehensive risk analysis is used to identify existing or potential hazards and with its help a system is put in place to reduce the threat of risk in the end product.
The development and implementation of the HACCP programme is just one aspect of Joh. Barth & Sohn’s continuing commitment to supplying its customers with safe, high-quality hop products.
From 2006 on we provided our customers on request with a comprehensive HACCP annual report. Since 2013, as part of an improved, sustainable stakeholder dialogue strategy, Joh. Barth & Sohn has been sending all customers the newly-conceived and revised HACCP report.
Even if hops have always been at the forefront in quality matters amongst agricultural crops, particularly in terms of traceability and comprehensive control measures, there is still potential for improvement.
Although Joh. Barth & Sohn has subjected its hops to regular and intensive tests for pesticide residues for many years now, we have once again increased the extent of these checks considerably, and with that our quality requirements, using our product safety concept.
Findings from our quality control programme
In crop year 2015, a total of 530 plant protection notices containing a limited selection of plant protection agents compared to the total number approved in Germany were sent to German hop growers. Seven of the growers received approval for a justified exemption. A total of nine growers without exemption approval violated the standard we had set, representing 1.7%.
In a total of eleven cases in which EU limits had been exceeded, with two exceptions, the hops or hop products concerned could be attributed to foreign countries with corresponding plant protection agent standards
Of a total of 283 analyses of German raw hop lots, there were only two cases (0.7%) in which the EU limit was exceeded.
Of a total of 222 analyses conducted by our colleagues in the USA, there were no cases of applicable US residue limits being exceeded.
Joh. Barth & Sohn’s customers receive further information about the results of our analyses in our annual HACCP report.
Laws and standards
In the interests of consumer health and safety, the products and services supplied by Joh. Barth & Sohn are subject to a variety of laws and regulations. A list of these and other information is available online.
EU Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009: amongst other things, this regulation determines all the active substances which are permitted in pesticides and which must be licensed in the member states; it is the basis for the German plant protection law.
EU Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 (basic regulation): amongst other things, this requires complete traceability (upstream and downstream) in food production
EU Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005: a harmonised list of maximum residue levels for all foodstuffs and all active substances
EU Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004: regulation on the hygiene of foodstuffs (HACCP etc.)
EU Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004: regulates food packaging
EU Regulation (EC) No. 1850/2006: hop and hop product certification
German Food and Feed Code (Lebensmittel- und Futtermittelgesetzbuch): this governs labelling obligations, hygiene regulations, food inspection, etc.
US Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA): this governs pesticide approvals in the USA
US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act): this sets maximum permissible residue levels in foodstuffs (incl. hops)
Japanese Food Sanitation Law: this contains a positive list with maximum permissible residue levels in foodstuffs (incl. hops)
BARTH-HAAS quality control guarantee
Using our specially developed “BARTH-HAAS safety concept”, with its integrated early warning system for seamless monitoring of the hops marketed by us, we offer our growers and customers maximum transparency for optimum “hop purity”.
The “Barth Quality Control Guarantee” we introduced in 2012 has been expanded in recent years to include all members of the BARTH-HAAS GROUP and is central to our safety concept. This gives both our customers and our suppliers peace of mind when using Barth hops.
The close monitoring for potential residues of plant protection agents ensures that only those hops which satisfy the requirements of both the law and our customers are brought into circulation. This minimises problems regarding sales and liability, both for growers and for the customer.
If problems do occur, however, we are able to react quickly at any time thanks to the seamless documentation of batches in our IT system, meaning that we can limit the damage both to our customers and to the growers to a very great extent.
The “Barth leaf programme” was introduced in 1994, and is used to test the hops for residues of plant protection agents prior to harvest.
Close cooperation and information exchange with the growers, as well as specialist advice from our knowledgeable purchasing experts, make early forecasts possible.
Through the regular “Barth hop tour”, during which selected hop gardens are visited throughout the European growing regions, instances of disease are observed and documented and appropriate measures taken as a result.
All the hops and hop products sourced by us are combined as mixed samples in a standardised form and comprehensively analysed. Details of the routine approach and the defined range of active agents can be viewed on our website.
Only after the results of the analyses have been delivered are hops released for processing and marketing.
In 2015, a total of more than 1,000 raw hop and product analyses were carried out in connection with the Barth-Haas Quality Control Guarantee.
With only a few exceptions, these tests and the customer-specific analyses yielded no problematic results. Our extensive screening programme, as part of the new Barth-Haas Quality Control Guarantee, has proven to be an important factor in giving our customers confidence in the product safety of their raw materials.
Our IT system stores all the data and enables the hops to be correctly allocated to meet customer requirements. This means that all the grower lots in any given product batch can be easily traced at any time.
At Barth & Sohn it has been standard practice for more than two decades for reference samples of all hop and product lots to be stored for at least five years.
All these quality measures have their price. At Joh. Barth & Sohn we believe that the safety and reliability of our products are important enough to justify this expenditure. By avoiding product recalls, production stoppages and damage to a company’s image and thanks to better safety and transparency, this expenditure also indirectly benefits our suppliers and customers.
Our measures are not only well suited for detecting cases of damage at an early stage; they also ensure that our suppliers operate sustainably and help to avoid damage.
Our professional buyers (qualified agricultural engineers or master agronomists) are continuously trained in plant protection by internal and external experts and are therefore always up-to-date regarding agent approvals, application techniques and legal and customer requirements. Thanks to regular visits by Barth buyers, our hop growers are routinely informed of our customers’ current specifications as well as of the general legal framework in particular export markets.
The plant protection form for documenting all measures was developed by Joh. Barth & Sohn in 1994 and has since become the established standard within the German hop industry.
Additionally, the plant protection calendar we first introduced in 2001 has increased the reliability and comprehensiveness of documented plant protection measures exclusively for our suppliers and customers.
The annual Barth plant protection notice and information updates in the Barth Fax are further important instruments ensuring the effective exchange of information between Joh. Barth & Sohn and its suppliers.
Standing still is not an option for us.
We are constantly working to offer our customers added value in order to make them more successful. The skillful use of hops should help our customers stand out from the competition.
In the last 10 years, the use of hops in breweries has changed fundamentally. Before, a light to moderate hop aroma, created by adding hops during the boil, was standard practice. Today, hops are being added in very high quantities during the boil, but also for dry hopping. This gives rise to the need for a hop-based sensory language. With the help of perfumers and sommeliers, we have developed a tasting scheme that is specially designed to be used for hops and hop-intensive beers. It consists of 12 categories sub-divided into specific aroma impressions. The results obtained when using this scheme are displayed as distinct aroma profiles for each hop variety or beer that can then be compared with others. The aim is to speak a common sensory language about hops that makes it easier to compare hop varieties and hop-intensive beers.
The tasting scheme is also used in HOPSESSED – the latest HOPS ACADEMY module. The module was introduced in 2015 and includes intensive and interactive aroma training. Our teaching staff teach participants everything to do with aroma in general and hop aroma in particular. Scientific theory and practice through personal experimentation go hand in hand.
The Hop Harvest Guide
The annual Hop Harvest Guide is another tool that we have created for our customers. This is our next step into the never-ending world of hop aromas. Gone are the days when hops were judged solely according to their technical properties – today, aromas and flavours take centre stage. The three previous volumes of our Hop Aroma Compendium had already given customers a tool to help them make sound judgments in response to this trend. As the hop is a natural product and therefore subject to seasonal conditions such as location, weather etc., each crop year has its own specific characteristics. After each harvest, our aroma experts assess the special crop year-specific aroma characteristics of the 32 most important hop varieties. We thus provide our customers with concentrated knowledge of the aroma characteristics of an entire crop year in a compact, practice-oriented form.
Awards for ABrewCalypse Now
We are delighted that our technicians’ brewing expertise has received special recognition on three counts. Three beers from our in-house concept brewery ABrewCalypseNow have won prizes at Meiningers International Craft Beer Award:
- In 2015 a silver medal went to our amber lager "Relax, kick your shoes off”
(hop varieties Monroe and Relax)
- In 2016 we won gold and silver with beers that had been brewed with our “Yellow Sub” hop composition (Yellow Sub Experimental Dry Hopped Belgium Trippel, Yellow Sub Amber Lager)
This represents a major tribute to the expertise of our technical department. In this way we have shown what fantastic aroma characteristics are to be found in our Yellow Sub hop composition and in our exclusive varieties Monroe and Relax.