Spanish start-up grows hydroponic hops to help 'save' climate-threatened beer

In warehouses outside Madrid, twists of hop vines grow under LED lights and close supervision in what their guardians say could be the best way to futureproof the supply of a key ingredient in the world's most popular alcoholic drink, now threatened by climate change.

Due to their need for "goldilocks" conditions of long summer days and mild temperatures, hops are traditionally grown in temperate climes found in areas like Germany's Hallertau, the Czech Republic, or the northwestern United States.

However, research shows more frequent droughts and plagues due to global warming are driving down both yields and quality - a growing headache for the beer industry.

According to growers' associations, U.S. production was down 12% year-on-year in 2022, while German output saw a 21% decline, and Czech yields fell by more than 40% due to abnormally hot and dry growing conditions.


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