Japan Brewers Supporting Production of Domestic Hops

Economy

Tono, Iwate Pref., Sept. 27 (Jiji Press)--Major Japanese brewers are offering financial and technological support to domestic hop farmers so they can increase production of hops, a primary beer ingredient that determines flavor and bitterness.

With imported hops accounting for about 90 pct of hops used in beer production in Japan, the brewers aim to make greater use of domestically grown fresh hops that can be used for their products soon after harvesting.

Workers were cutting hop plants off from 5-meter-tall trellises in late August at a farm in Tono in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, the country' leading hop-producing prefecture.

At a processing facility, hop flowers are separated from vines and dried. They are then shipped to beer makers.

According to data from Japan's agriculture ministry, annual domestic production of hops topped 2,000 tons in the 1970s. But the amount has plunged to some 270 tons, chiefly due to a drop in the number of hop farmers stemming from hard work and a lack of successors.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press