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New owners, same mission
Hopunion helps brewers with their most important needs 

Ralph Olson, a longtime manager at HopunionUSA Inc., recently took ownership of the company's craft brewing division along with other investors.

The goal of the renamed company, Hopunion CBS LLC, is to focus squarely on the craft brewing industry, Olson said.

"We are there just for craft breweries," he said. "Itís not just our specialty. Itís all we do.'"

White Labs and Hopunion have worked together on projects in the past, including a brewers calendar. And when an issue recently came up regarding hops, White Labs President Chris White knew where to turn.

At the time Chris was attempting to finish a project he had worked on for some time ó BrewMaster: The Craft Beer Game. (For more on the game, turn to Chrisí column on page 2).

He wanted to get photos of real ingredients, to make the game memorable for brewers and nonbrewers alike. When he needed to find fresh hops, he knew where to turn ó Hopunion.

Ralph promptly sent over a bundle of hops. To complete the project, the hops were turned over to John Schulz, a professional photographer in the San Diego area. Schulz has a strong background in brewery photo projects with large and small clients including Pyramid, Stone Brewing Co. and Rock Bottom.

But while Chris did get the hops, he didnít have all the answers. When pressed to name which hops were in the photos, he wavered between nuggets and cascades.

Again he turned to Ralph for help.

"They are nuggets,'" he said. The hops were choosen because of their full body and freshness.

Soon after helping Chris White, Ralph had to get back to the shop. After all he had a company to run.