Last month, Ralph Olson, General Manager and Owner of Hopunion CBS LLC traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria to attend the International Hop Grower’s Congress, which is compromised of growers and technical people in the hop industry. During the convention he was awarded the international “Order of the Hop”, received for his contributions to the hop industry as well as his work in promoting new aroma varieties in the craft brewing industry. Olson is only the second hop dealer in the U.S. to receive this award. The first U.S. recipient of the award was Ernie Netter. Hr received the award nearly 20 years ago. Netter has been a close friend and mentor of Ralph Olson over the years. Olson recently celebrated his 25th year in the hop industry so this award is surely warranted and well deserved.
Instituted by John the Fearless in the 1360’s and resumed in the 1900’s, the Order of the Hop was intended as a mark of distinction and honor for all “Gentleman” who contribute to the development prosperity of the “noble” plant, which is so important for beer production. It was intended to be awarded to hop growers and brewers, administrators and rectors of universities, employees and drinkers of good beer and all who are interested in the “cultivation of the noble hop” and the “agreeable drink.” The International Hop Growers Bureau took over the award of the Order of the Hop in 1970.