Molson Scoops Prized Sartori Hops
Cresting the hill, a vista unfolds much changed since I last visited five years ago. Once an open field and a vision in the mind of Christian Sartori, the land is now covered by trellises draped with verdant boas sporting clusters of aromatic hops, hops that gave rise to Driftwood’s legendary Sartori Harvest IPA.
When I first paid a visit to Chris Sartori’s secluded Columbia Valley ranch, I was joined by two brewers and a brewery owner. The hop crisis had hit and I was hoping that by introducing Chris to our craft brewers, they would establish a long-term relationship that would both reduce the financial risk of his venture and help create for them a more reliable hop supply.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t quite happened. Most of the Sartori hops are not destined for craft beer but to make Molson Export. So while some of our brewers are still going as far as New Zealand to play with new hop varietals, our own local resource is largely being diluted in industrial lager. Given that the inspiration for starting the Sartori hop yard was because the big breweries had the buying power to guarantee their supply while many of the craft brewers struggled, it is not without a little bit of irony that Molson is underwriting Sartori Harvest IPA.
Since my first visit here, there has been a tremendous growth in our craft beer scene because of the growing support for our local brewers. Well, our hop farmers need the same support but from our brewers. This will allow them to grow along with the industry, ensuring BC terroir gets into BC beer.