Dec 15, 2021
Hops are in Roger’s blood. He grew up on a hop farm and, after a few years in IT, came back to that world to work for Farams. In our conversation you’ll get a real sense of the pride he takes the business, as well as his deep knowledge of hops as both an agricultural plant and a beer ingredient. But most of all you’ll hear his passion for British hops, which its fair do not inspire the same level of excitement that many new world varieties do. That though, might be about to change.
We start by talking about the challenges of this year’s harvest, which has been affected by adverse and unpredictable weather, only to be released to a market with much lower demand as many brewers are still working through their stock of 2020 and even 2019 hops after the disruption of COVID.
These crises could not have come at a worst time for the UK hop industry, which Rogers says is at its lowest ebb – and even a make or break moment. Some hop growers are considering turning their fields over to more reliable crops, and with just 59 growers left in the UK it would only take a few quitting to reach a critical mass that destroys the industry. Rogers, however, sees a lot of cause for optimism.
We talk about the renewed excitement around traditional british beer styles and their ingredients, as well as taking a deep dive into Faram’s hop breeding programme that has seen the release of seven new varieties design to offer up the high aroma, high alpha qualities of American hops – but all grown in British soil, British sun and rain, and without the use of irrigation.
Throughout our talk it becomes clear that British hops have a lot to offer the world of modern brewing if it can survive this moment to rebrand itself and create its own space.