Climate change threat to European production of aroma hops

Rising temperatures and droughts in recent years have caused – and will continue to cause – reduced yields of aromatic hops in traditional European hop-growing regions. At the same time, the alpha bittering substances in hops that set the flavor of beer are on the decrease. An international research team from the Department of Agroecology and Plant Production has published these findings in Nature Communications. Hop growers need to develop an adaptation strategy and implement urgent measures to maintain production levels.  

According to the study, new conditions for hop-growing in Europe will develop unevenly. Žatec (Saaz) and other hop-growing regions in the north will be less affected, while the southern regions will feel the impact from climate change more. Hops are ripening up to 20 days earlier than in the past due to rising temperatures. In addition, the ripening cycle is shifting to hotter days, which has a negative effect on the alpha-bitterness content. A decrease in rainfall impacts yield volume.  

Model projections suggest a yield decline between 4% and 18% by 2050 and alpha bitter content between 20% and 31% lower than today without adequate measures. In addition to the impacts of climate change, growers will also have to adapt to sustainable production requirements.  
Dr. Ing. Martin Možný
Doc. Dr. Mgr. Věra Potopová
The climate-driven decline in the quality and quantity of European hops requires immediate adaptation measures.  
MOZNY M, Trnka M, Vlach V, Žalud Z, Čejka T, Hájková L, POTOPOVÁ V, Semenov MA, Semerádová D, Büntgen U. Climate-induced decline in quality and quantity of European hops calls for immediate adaptation measures. Nature Communications [online].  
Available from: doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41474-5 or here in the Annex.

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