Alaska Airlines Ferries is hopping to breweries across the US

  • Alaska 737-800
    Alaska Airlines

    IATA/ICAO code:

    Airline type:
    Full service carrier

    Anchorage International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Portland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

    Year of foundation:

    one world

    Ben Minicucci

    United States

Alaska Air Cargo delivered the largest shipment of fresh hops to breweries in Anchorage and Maui. Deliveries were made in record time of less than 24 hours from harvest to processing in the breweries. The airline delivered more than 1,200 pounds of undried hops to Maui Brewing Co. in Hawaii and 49th State Brewing in the northern state of Alaska. These deliveries were a major transportation milestone for the brewing industries in these isolated communities. The parties involved shared their pride in this important achievement.


harvest season

The hop crop used to make beer has been a staple of the Pacific Northwest for decades. Washington State produces over 75% of all hop crops in the United States. In late summer, Pacific Northwest hops are transported from farms as soon as they are harvested to local breweries. This latest achievement showed that hops can be transported fresh to destinations other than Seattle and Portland.

Alaska Airlines is in the perfect position to transport these fresh hops long distances. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines cargo general manager Adam Drouhard explained how the company’s Seattle hub puts it in the perfect position to transport those fresh hops to other destinations, as most hops grown in the United States are grown in Washington. Droudhard said,

“This is a potential game changer for the craft beer industry and farm-to-glass collaboration at its best,

“It puts a Northwest agricultural product in places that don’t normally get it. With the size and reach we have in Seattle, we’re really well positioned to own it.”

On time delivery

The process of undertaking the attempted transoceanic shipments began when the airline was advised that its experience in shipping perishable foods over long distances, such as salmon shipments, made it well equipped to undertake such a feat. The Yakima-based Bale Breaker Brewing Company played a vital role in initiating the plan. Working with 49th State Brewing, Maui Brewing, Yakima Chief Hops, and Alaska Air Cargo, Bale Breaker developed a logistics plan to ensure mission success.

Alaska Airlines currently serves draft beer made from these famous hops at its airport lounges in Anchorage and Seattle. Photo: Alaska Airlines

The plan should follow a strict schedule to reach Alaska and Hawaii in less than 24 hours. Yakima Chief Hops Director of Sales and Marketing Bryan Pierce said:

“The scalability of shipping fresh hops has really been the challenge because you only have about 24 hours after harvest before the hops start to degrade,”

The plan was underway when hop picking began at Loftus Ranches, where Bale Breaker Brewing is located. Once picked, the hops were quickly bagged and loaded onto refrigerated trucks. They were then transported to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to be loaded onto planes. The 1,200 pounds of hops were soon on their way to their destinations. Brewers in Alaska and Hawaii were eagerly awaiting delivery. As soon as the shipments arrived at the breweries, the hops were pushed straight into the first stage of the beer-making process.

The historic feat appears to have sparked a long-term partnership between the companies. 49th State Brewing co-founder David McCarthy said after the event,

“With Alaska Air Cargo, we can guarantee the supply chain from field to kettle,

“Beer aficionados really crave this flavor, and we’re thrilled to now be able to make the freshest beer in Anchorage and the entire Alaskan market.”

What do you think of this historic achievement? Let us know in the comments below.

About Kevin Strickland

Check Also

Plans for Coney Island ferry unknown after ‘exhaustive search’

A city agency says it is still committed to bringing ferry service to Coney Island, …