Skip to main content
Hero Image
Hop cones on a hop plant.

Hop cones on a hop plant.

Beer Brewing Begins with ARS Hops and Barley Breeding

Hops image

Beer is among the world's oldest and most widely consumed beverages, generating $111 billion in annual sales in the United States alone; in fact, humankind's thirst for the alcoholic beverage dates back an estimated 13,000 years.

ARS has been on the forefront of recent efforts to breed new varieties of hops and barley used by the brewing and malting industry. ARS researchers in Corvallis, OR, have bred more than 20 varieties of hops since the 1950s; in fact, about one-third of the hops used in U. S. beers have ARS origins.

A 1972 release, ‘Cascade' is one of the most widely used hops varieties in the world and is so popular as a flavoring ingredient that it is sometimes identified on craft brew labels.

ARS's continued development of new hops—including ‘Triumph', the latest release—and barley varieties is critical to helping the brewing industry keep pace with increasing consumer demand for new brands offering diverse flavors and aromas. No less important to growers are varieties that can hold their own against pests and diseases.

Related Information

Article: Barley and Hops: Beer’s Top Crops Barley and Hops: Beer’s Top Crops