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Rights: University of Waikato. All rights reserved.
Published 23 July 2015
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Science Group Leader at Plant & Food Research Dr Ron Beatson has been researching hops since 1984. His new cultivars are transforming the New Zealand hop industry.

Dr Beatson and Doug Donelan, CEO of New Zealand Hops, discuss the impact of the research and why Ron is known as a ‘bit of a rockstar’ on the international brewing scene.

Transcript

Voiceover
Ron Beatson from Plant & Food has been researching hops since 1984. His new cultivars are transforming the New Zealand hop industry into a growing export earner.

Doug Donelan
The industry came to a point where it had to export. It couldn’t be a domestic cottage industry any longer, and Ron’s work done with Plant & Food has brought a lot of very interesting and unique aroma cultivars through the programme to the point where we can commercialise them and then market them – more around flavour and aroma in hops rather than just commodity-based production.

Dr Ron Beatson
So a lot of it is walking and talking. So you rub dry hops, and you smell them, and you get the different bouquets coming off them, so there’s a lot of discussions around that. Doug has got some ideas about market spaces that he would like to see us move into. And we’re picking ones that have got what we call the wow factor, and something that’s different or something that interests Doug.

Doug Donelan
We’ve actually created a new niche for ourselves in the market, and we produce in the vicinity of 750 metric tonnes.

Dr Ron Beatson
Even though we’ve got different masters in terms of our corporate structures, we work very close together.

Doug Donelan
A lot of the success comes from the level of collaboration and what we see as our end goal.

Voiceover
Ron’s deep knowledge of the hops industry is a key factor in bringing his science to commercial use.

Doug Donelan
The brewing industry internationally is a massive industry. But it’s actually run by a very small group of people, and you’ll meet people who know the New Zealand varieties and of course know Ron Beatson as the breeder.

Even though I know it would be hard to believe looking at him, but he’s considered a bit of a rockstar, because some of the varieties that have come through the programme are some of the most desirable hop varieties in the world today.

Dr Ron Beatson
The fact that we’re making good beers out of some of our unique selections is something that gives me a lot of pride.

Doug Donelan
We produce less than 1% of the world crop, but the hops are in over 50 countries internationally.

Dr Ron Beatson
I believe that our relationship with New Zealand Hops and Plant & Food Research is unique in the world. I don’t think you get that in any other hop-growing country – that really tight community feel.

Acknowledgement
Video courtesy of Kiwi Innovation Network Limited
© Kiwi Innovation Network Limited, 2015