Climate change may even call time on the British pint

 In Climate Change, News

Climate change is even a threat to the British pint, says Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.

He was commenting on a report that hop yields have plummeted because the plants (Humulus lupulus), hops which give bitter beers their taste, don’t like the hotter and drier summers leading to a drop of nearly 20 per cent in output across the UK and Europe.

“If nothing is done, the problem will only get worse and the British pint will die off in the next few decades,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd.

But the good news is that scientists are working with the brewing industry to try and isolate hop genes in the hope of producing more varieties which are resistant to climate-change and will have more intense flavours.

The new research is being co-led by Dr Helen Cockerton of the University of Kent, who is working with Dr Klara Hajdu, a hop breeder with Wye Hops Ltd in Canterbury.

They will be analysing the genetic code of hundreds of different varieties of hops as well as searching for genes in plants that are drought-resistant. They hope then to breed the new varieties with the new drought, disease and flavour genes to see if they grow well in the field and could then be used in beer production.

“Obviously, brewers want good-tasting beer, whereas the growers are more interested in having plants that are able to produce good yields despite the problems of diseases and droughts,” said Ron. “Another bonus is that the UK will continue to grow its own beers and not need to import more ales from abroad.”

Ten years ago, experts thought it would be very difficult to produce intense flavours in hops in the UK climate. But now they are much more optimistic after the identification of key genes in different hops has shown that this is possible and will greatly accelerate the development of new varieties

The project is part of a larger research initiative funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to protect UK food production against challenges such as climate change.

The Farming Minister, Mark Spencer, said he was “delighted” to see projects like the beer study being carried out.

To show how important the industry is to Britain UK beer production was 37.5 million hectolitres in 2022, but that was a drop of 2.3 per cent on the 2021 figure of 38.4 million hectolitres. A hectolitre is a metric unit of volume equal to 100 litres.

“If the scientists do manage to overcome the problems of climate change and produce beers with more intense flavours, I will certainly drink to that,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park (

If you want any advice about climate change and green energy, contact Ron on 01782 756995 or go to

Caption: Cheers! Scientists are working on producing hops more resistant to climate change.

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