Annual Award Recognizes Employee Innovation

Annual Award Recognizes Employee Innovation


January 17, 2017 / News & Events

Congratulations to the Cryo Hops™ Innovation Team for earning the 2016 Square Watermelon Award!

Inspired by Japanese farmers who developed and grew square watermelons to maximize limited grocery-shelf space, the Square Watermelon Award is an annual honor granted to one or more YCH employee(s) in recognition of an innovative and implementable idea that not only improves operational efficiency at YCH but supports the overall mission, vision and values of the company.

This year’s honorees include Agustin Delgado, Alberto Mendoza, Andres Hernandez, Blaze Ruud, Eleazar Caballero, Gabriel Silva, Jim Martin, Jose Hernandez, Juan Carlos Maravilla, Mario Garza, Pedro Venegas, Simon Navarrete, Tyson Crudup and Zach Turner for their contributions to the development of YCH’s new, industry leading Cryo Hops™ technology. Together, this team turned an R&D idea from 2014 into a production reality in 2015 with growing sales orders and production capabilities through 2016.

As described by Tyson Crudup, Cryo Manager, “The [Cryo Hops] process uses liquid nitrogen and a high capacity sifter to separate and remove lupulin from the hop cones. The primary resulting product, concentrated lupulin powder, allows increased efficiency in the kettle, as well as in the fermenter. It also reduces unwanted hop mass in the brewing process and allows the brewer to gain better yields during production. This saves time and money, while improving the quality of the beer, providing more hop character and less vegetative flavor.”

Knowing that Cryo Hops™ would represent industry-leading technology and YCH’s innovative culture, the team was inspired by many factors. For Juan Carlos Maravilla, “We wanted our brand’s name to be known globally, ‘YCH’. That is what encouraged us to take the initiative.” Crudup adds, “Inspiration comes from our desire to provide high quality, innovative, new hop products to our customers. We wanted to introduce a product that provides value as well as enhancing flavor to our customer’s beers!”

Throughout the entire multi-year implementation process, the Cryo Hops™ Innovation Team displayed YCH’s hops values of passion, teamwork, quality, dedication, excellence and sustainability as they worked through challenges and perfected the line. When asked how everyone came together to incorporate ideas, Crudup replied, “We had countless ‘Think Tank’ and design meetings. Everyone was encouraged to input their ideas. We then sifted through all of these ideas and decided what solutions would work best to solve different issues and accomplish our goals. We would implement these ideas and then evaluate how well they worked. The process was repeated over and over until we were happy with the results.” Agustin Delgado agreed saying, “We communicated and used ideas from everyone.”

YCH’s culture of innovation and sustainability were key, as ideas were vetted and assembly became a reality. Crudup commented, “We selected employees with a passion for quality, and years of production experience. Every member of the team has a unique skill and prospective on hops processing that made this project come together… It was important to be resourceful and use as much existing equipment as possible. Also following our company values, repurposing old equipment allowed us to extend the life of used machinery while giving us a chance to work thru ideas without potentially wasting resources on setups that may not work out.”

When asked about how the opportunity to be involved in this project helped provide professional development, the team responded, “The project has indeed helped many broaden their skills and learn new things. We learned that Simon has a passion for this and is probably the main reason for all the work that he does.” Summarized by Crudup, “This project provided an opportunity for all of us to not only display existing skills that we needed to make it a success but also a chance to learn new skills and gain knowledge about process development. Our crew preformed most of all the work installing and fabricating equipment, gaining new skills and traits along the way. These skills and this knowledge/experience will be valuable to all of us helping to reach our professional goals.”

To all who participated and continue to contribute to this new, innovative product line, congratulations and job well done! We are extremely proud of the entire team and are honored to recognize multiple staff from every department.

YCH will be launching the new Cryo Hops™ brand in-full at this year’s Craft Brewer’s Conference in Washington, DC. Stay tuned to ychhops.com for more information regarding Cryo Hops™ and if at the CBC, plan to stop by booth 2001 to sample the products and taste exclusive CBC Cryo Hops™ beers.

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