Traditionally, garlands of hops were hung afresh every year – for good luck – in the pubs and farmhouses of the hop-growing areas of the UK (Kent, Herefordshire and Worcestershire) but few people outside of these areas appreciated the decorative potential of a full-flowered hop bine until The Hop Shop started, in 1986, growing and marketing them nationwide specifically for interior use.
To achieve top decorative quality, our hops are grown at extra-wide spacing to encourage flowering along the full length of the bine. This means that they are bigger, fuller bines and more consistent in their flowering than hops produced from closely-spaced brewing hops which are always competing for sunlight.
The fully-grown bines are harvested from mid-August to mid-September when they are in their prime and have their freshest green colour. They are either sold as fresh-cut bines for immediate decorative use or dried in the dark in temperature- and humidity-controlled sheds to hold their colour. They are then boxed and stored in insulated, dehumidified stores for sale throughout the year. The decorative bines are approximately 3m (10ft) in length.
Now, dried hop bines can be seen throughout the UK, over the bars in pubs, trailed along the top of kitchen units, twisted around wedding marquee poles or adorning the beams of old barns. They also regularly feature on TV and film sets such as Doc Martin, Camelot and The Vikings.
Fresh Hop Bines
Fresh hop bines can be purchased (cut to order) from mid-August to mid-September and either collected direct from the shop or despatched by 24-hour courier to most UK mainland addresses. For fresh hop bines please telephone 01959 523219 to order so that specific delivery/collection arrangements can be discussed or email us with your request and we will contact you to make arrangements.
Dried Hop Bines
Dried hop bines are available throughout the year for purchase direct from the shop or for despatch by throughout the UK. European deliveries can be arranged at additional cost.
HOW TO CARE FOR AND HANDLE YOUR HOP BINE
Dried Hop Bines
- Dried bines can, inevitably, be quite brittle to handle. We strongly recommend that the boxes are opened and left in a damp atmosphere such as a shed, cellar or garage (not outside) overnight before they are handled. Damp air will be absorbed into the flowers and foliage, softening them and making them easier to unpack and display. An alternative is to use a fine mist spray.
- We strongly recommend conditioning dried hop bines, before you handle them, by exposing them to a damp atmosphere 24 hours prior to hanging. A shed, cellar or garage is appropriate (not outside). Just open the box and leave the flaps open: this allows the bines to absorb moisture from the air, so reducing any brittleness.
- Dust sheets should be used to protect interiors whilst the hop bines are handled as the flowers contain a yellow pollen-like substance that can stain.
- Hops should be hung in a position where they will be free from disturbance as the flowers may disintegrate if damaged.
- Each bine is different but we have strict quality standards relating to length, colour and weight. Your box may therefore include an extra section of hops to add to the main bine to ensure you have the best value for money!
Fresh Hop Bines
- A hop bine is composed of two or three stems that have grown and twisted up a long central string. Fresh hop bines are supple and can be easily draped and twined into position and left to dry out naturally. Hanging the cut bines is easy – simply hook the stems or string over a nail. The bines are very light when dry so weight is not a problem.
- Hops should always be hung in a position where they will not be knocked by people or disturbed by draughts as the flowers may disintegrate if damaged. The greenness of the flowers will be retained longer if the hops are not exposed to direct sunlight.
- Be careful – hop flowers contain a yellow pollen-like substance that is the plant’s essential oils. This can stain fabrics and furnishings, so dust-sheets should always be used to protect interiors whilst hops are being handled.
- Occasionally there may be small insects or aphids hidden in the foliage or flowers of fresh hops. These will emerge as soon as the hops start to dry and will die off very quickly within a couple of days. We inspect all bines before despatch and reject any that have an obvious problem – but detecting small infestations is very difficult, so please be patient! If in doubt, drape the hop bines in a shed or garage for a couple of days before displaying them.
- Fresh bines have a rough, slightly barbed surface to the stems and underside of the leaves. This can scratch the skin and cause short-term irritation so we recommend the wearing of thin gloves and long sleeves while handling fresh bines.
For trade information, please telephone 01959 523219 or email us for prices.