12 Oct 2023, 11:49
Jack McGovan

Global temperature rise feared to impact beer production in Europe - researchers

Clean Energy Wire / Süddeutsche Zeitung

Rising temperatures in Europe could have a negative impact on one of the world's most important regions for growing hops, a key ingredient in beer production. Around 20 percent more cropland will be needed to offset a reduction in hop quality due to higher average temperatures and less rainfall, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. By 2050, the international team of researchers estimate a decline in hop yields of up to 18 percent, and a reduction in alpha acid content – which gives beer its distinctive bitter taste – of up to 31 percent. Farms were examined across Germany, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, which make up the vast majority of Europe's hop growing regions. The researchers examined hop yields from 1971-1994, compared them to those from 1995-2018, and then used climate modelling to extrapolate the differences into the future.
Eric Leihmair from the Association of German Hop Growers told newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung: “this corresponds to our practical experience”. He and other industry experts were, however, critical of the study. Leihmair highlighted that more climate-tolerant variants of hops could be used, as well as new methods of irrigation. The managing director of Barth Haas, the largest hop dealer in the world, had similar thoughts, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung.

German farmers recently blamed climate change for “enormously challenging” weather, to which Green Party agriculture minister Cem Özdemir called for immediate action. In July, farmers also called for the EU to put more focus on food security in its Green Deal proposals. For the last 27 years, Germany has had above average warm summers, and last year, the lack of rainfall mounted pressure on eastern German farmers.

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