You have heard of wild hops, now there will be public domain hops because The Brewers Association publicized an agreement made with the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). For what purpose? “To fund public hop breeding for the purpose of developing and releasing disease resistant aroma hop cultivars into the public domain… ”
Probably stemming from the recent hold-out of hops by the Captain Hook of beer SABInBev and their South Africa business decision. This combined effort of government and small(er) business looks to be an effort to keep the Hop torpedos full.
According to Chris Swersey, supply chain specialist for the Brewers Association. “Research to develop and release hop cultivars with no intellectual property protection ensures that all growers have access to high quality, disease-resistant cultivars they need to sustain production at levels required by brewers.”
The key takeaway outlined in the press release: “The research will prioritize breeding efforts in four areas: sensory requirements as determined by the Brewers Association through a collaborative and participatory brewer and industry stakeholder program; improved downy mildew resistance; improved powdery mildew resistance; and improved agronomic performance compared to existing aroma cultivars.”
And if you thought the Smithsonian beer historian job got a few applicants well, the USDA will move forward to hire a professional breeder and a facility to begin research. Sounds like a hard but fun job.