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Yakima, Washington: The Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) Board of Directors has been recognized for excellence in governance by Directors & Boards, receiving the prestigious Private Company Board of the Year award. The award was presented to YCH as one of only seven private companies in the United States to be honored at an awards ceremony on May 16, in Washington, DC.

Companies must be nominated for the award and then complete a subsequent application. If the application is accepted, it is followed by an interview process focused on board structure, policies and processes, and board makeup and recruitment. Finalists are then judged on a set of criteria, with judges retaining the right to issue no award if standards are not met.

“This award demonstrates that YCH is one of the best governed and run companies in the United States, and it's just not happenstance,” says Kevin Riel, one of YCH’s Grower-Owners and Vice Chair of the Board. “Our board has been working toward increasing our impactful governance and sophistication, and to receive this honor is just tremendous.”

Michael Smith, a founding member of YCH and current Chair of the Board, explained, “From our humble beginnings in the late 1980s YCH has experienced tremendous growth. The company’s size and complexity ended up outpacing its governance structure, so for the past several years we have worked diligently to bring board oversight and involvement to a more satisfactory level.” He praised the board and management for their significant efforts in refining YCH’s governance, stating, “It’s a great honor to be nationally recognized for those efforts.”

YCH’s Board of Directors is made up of 11 individuals, with seven directors elected from Yakima Chief Hops’ base of grower-owners, with an additional four independent directors from outside of the company. Yakima Chief Hops’ independent directors have each been chosen as a result of their diverse range of expertise and skillsets that complement and enhance the board's overall capabilities and impact. “They help round out our board in areas that may need strengthening,” Riel explains. “It definitely contributes to our recognition for best management practices.”

Megan Belcher, a nationally recognized governance expert who is also an independent director for YCH’s board noted, “It is truly impressive the infrastructure in place and the strategic engagement of YCH’s board, magnified by high collaboration between grower-owners, independent board members, and the company’s senior leadership.”  Commenting on the work of the board Belcher noted, “Through its governance journey over the last 30-plus years, and deep investment in thoughtful and measured board recruitment and development, YCH has made strategic investments that have driven real impact to benefit shareholder value.”

As Yakima Chief Hops continues to innovate and lead the industry, this significant award is a testament to the unwavering dedication held throughout the company to uphold its mission to connect brewers worldwide with family-owned hop farms.




Yakima Chief Hops  

YCH is a 100% grower-owned global hop supplier with a mission to connect brewers with family hop farms. Operating for more than 30 years, we have become leaders in innovation, quality, and customer service. We are a resource for brewers, providing industry-leading research and products. We are advocates of sustainability and meaningful social causes, working to support the communities around us. https://www.yakimachief.com/ 



Ryan Hopkins

Chief Executive Officer