HAAS® announces Roy Farms as its newest distribution partner for the U.S.
We recently sat down with Mike Roy, President, and CEO of Roy Farms, a fourth-generation family farm in the Yakima Valley, and the newest member of the HAAS® distribution network.
Nice to see you again, Mike. For those who might not know you, can you tell us a little bit about Roy Farms?
Mike Roy: My family is originally French Canadian and migrated here from Quebec maybe 150 years ago. Like a lot of people in the Yakima Valley, they moved here for agricultural opportunities, primarily hop opportunities. Over the last 120 years, we’ve diversified into other crops—blueberries, apples, cherries—but we’ve largely grown the business on the backbone of hop production and vertical integration through hops. And that stays true today.
If you ask me, what does our organization stand for? At its core, it’s about “unearthing potential.” Our mission is to positively impact human health and vitality. So we’re doing that through a few different avenues—and the way hops contribute to that mission is through our sustainability initiatives, great customer service, and really, through authenticity.
Your family has a long history with HAAS too, correct?
Mike: We’ve had a long working relationship with HAAS over the years. Back when the hop market was commoditized, we had a very beneficial relationship with HAAS moving Roy Farms hops as a commodity into the global space. When the alpha market changed, we began exploring different hops for craft brewers and shifted into direct selling for a number of years.
How has the relationship with HAAS evolved?
Mike: Over the years, we realized that the market was only seeing one side of us. We’re actually one of the biggest growers of Citra®, Mosaic® and lots of proprietary hops. In fact, back in the Fall of 2021, we entered into an agreement with HAAS to market and distribute the proprietary hops we grow through the ADHA (Association for the Development of Hop Agronomy), hops like Azacca® ADHA 483 c.v. and Adeena® ADHA 1940 c.v., as well as future ADHA aroma varieties in development. So we wanted to think about new ways to market our grown product, and becoming a HAAS distribution partner opened up a lot of opportunities.
So, what’s Roy Farms’ value to the customer?
Mike: I think we’re another great option for customers. What’s nice is, we don’t have to be the largest hop farm, so we can focus on working to be the best. I think what we do is, bring customers one step closer to the farm. For certain customers, that’s important, to be as close to the farm as possible.
We focus on sustainability throughout the supply chain, from the genetic side through water application to packaging and distribution—sustainability is core to everything we do. In fact, we were the first, but I think one of the only, if not the only, farm to be fully carbon footprinted from cradle to grave, as an example. We’re one of two hop farms that are B Corp certified, and we’re the largest organic producer. To us, that’s really important.
And then, on the flip side, what’s great for folks who were our direct customers, they’re now benefiting from our access to more hops and innovative hops products from HAAS, like INCOGNITO® and LUPOMAX®.
And those innovative products are important to all sized customers, right?
Mike: Yeah, definitely. We talked about the shift from alpha to aroma, and from commodity to new flavors and aromas. I think the next market wave is really going to be more about efficiency than it is newness, and I think HAAS is positioned well to be aligned with that movement. The ethos in craft used to be “more is better” and I think that’s shifting—now, it’s like, “Well, can we do just as much or more with less?” So, yeah, you look for efficiencies everywhere.
Is there a certain sized customer you typically work with?
We can serve and have served, the full gamut. I do think that our sweet spot is probably in that 3,000 or 5,000 to 50,000 barrel range. And, you know, here in Q2, we’re launching our online sales and we’ll be doing click-to-ship online, and we’ll be having representation at the home brew conference—so that’s new for us. But we really do run the whole gamut.