We are here FOR HOPS
Czech hops = green gold
The Czech Republic is one of the world leaders in hops productions with a tradition of more than a thousand years. Almost 6,000 tonnes of hops are grown on 5,000 hectares every year here. 80% of this volume is represented by the most famous variety of hops – Saaz semi-early red bine hops (Žatecký poloraný červeňák) – with their light aroma and unmistakable taste, typical, for instance, for pilsner lager.
Hop growers in the Saaz region (Žatecko), which is the most important region in Czechia from the hop growing perspective, are especially vulnerable. The majority of their hop yards is part of a quite small microclimate, where the nearby Ore Mountains (Krušné hory) create a rain shadow. Because of this, the annual precipitation total in the area is only about 450 millimetres. Meanwhile, the nation-wide average is between 600 to 750 millimetres.
There is no beer without hops
Brewing beer without hops is possible, but the beer does not taste good. It lacks the typical bitter taste and beautiful smell which have made Czech beer famous around the world.
They once tried to brew a hop-free beer in Plzeňský Prazdroj and let people taste it. Their reactions say it all. Hops are simply essential for beer.
Sensors will be placed on hop plants and in the soil – it is basically a hop ECG which will provide unique information about what Czech hops need. With the help of state-of-the-art technologies, Microsoft and Agritecture will develop a software which will be able to process and evaluate this type of data. They will use artificial intelligence, satellite images, as well as an analysis of historical data about the climate in microregions to do so.
Together, it will be a smart way to see when plants need moisture. This way, hop growers will be able to handle water, of which there is often a short supply, more efficiently and ensure sustainable growth of the precious ingredient in the future.