Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
Hydroponic hop sees flourishing results

Spain: Save water, drink beer

Stretching at almost 10 metres high, Spanish startup Ekonoke's hydroponically grown, indoor hop plants are flowering under multicolour LED lights — and the company says these vegetable cathedrals will shield beer from the impacts of climate change.

They could also upend one of the recent stories swirling around startup land: that vertical and indoor farming companies are just another nice idea that had VCs swooning, before buckling under the gravity of tough unit economics and thin margins. Many companies struggled due to the poor returns they could make from selling simple greens like salad leaves — one of the easier crops to grow indoors — to supermarkets, but Ekonoke says that its focus on hops could help it win where others have lost.

Long-term partnerships
Ekonoke believes it has an edge over the companies growing salad leaves that have come and gone before it. This is because of the advantages of selling an in-demand crop which is getting harder to produce due to climate change. According to the company, extreme weather events linked to climate change are reducing the productivity per hectare of hops outdoors by up to 30%.

Its business model relies on entering 20-year contracts with beermakers, which involve setting up a hop-growing facility right next to their breweries. All of Ekonoke's production is being sold to Corporación Hijos de Rivera, the manufacturers of the Estrella Galicia beer — which already sells IPA and amber lager beers made with the startup's hops.

Hijos de Rivera led a €4.2m investment round into Ekonoke in 2022, which also included Leanox Impact Ventures, a German impact investment fund, and Alazady España, the family office of Spanish businessman José María Castellano, former CEO of the Inditex Group.

Read the entire article at Sifted

Publication date: