Hops and barley are essential components of beer brewing and production of these inputs in Brazil tends to increase to meet internal demand, which is also increasing. In 2020, Brazil reached a total of 1,383 breweries registered with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), a 14.4% increase over the previous year, according to the 2020 Beer Yearbook. World Beer Day has been celebrated since 2007 every The first Friday of August.
Hops, a plant species lupus carrier, used in the production of beer, is responsible for the aroma and bitterness of the drink. In Brazil, the growth in the production of craft beer has increased the demand for high-quality hops, mainly because this type of drink requires a greater amount of product in its composition.
To meet this demand, in recent years, Brazilian producers have begun to grow hops in the country, with the brewing industry importing almost 100% of this raw material. Data extracted from the Comex Stat platform, of the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC), shows that in 2020, Brazil imported 3,243,000 tons of input, equivalent to US$57 million.
“The change in the Brazilian beer market, with the change in consumption to higher value-added products and increased use of raw materials, tends to put more pressure on consumption of barley and hops. Proportionately, this beer uses a lot of hops and with the expansion of the number of breweries, he notes that More microbreweries and craft breweries are entering the market that is famous for using these more special products, with more malt and hops,” explains General Map Coordinator for Wine and Beverages, Carlos Muller.
With the aim of developing subsidies to enhance the strengthening of the hops production chain in Brazil, in October 2020, the Ministry, through the Family Agriculture Secretariat, launched a technical cooperation project with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation for Agriculture (IICA) to identify opportunities, formulate partnerships and prepare a technical and economic feasibility plan for hops production in country.
“Brazilian hop cultivation is now a growing reality, and there are already farms producing with commercial productivity and quality that rival imported hops. Having Brazilian production could lower costs for breweries in the future, which could make a big difference when using fresh, freshly harvested hops, and even In the form of advanced products such as extracts and essential oils,” highlights Project Map Consultant/IICA, Stefano Gomez Kreitzer.
Hops are a high value-added crop that does not need large territorial extensions to be grown. “In areas of 0.5 or 1 hectare, the product already has a good financial return compared to other cultures in the same area. In light of this, the crop can be an excellent opportunity for family farming, generating more income, development, and helping sustain families in the countryside,” stresses Kreitzer.
The General Coordinator of Development and Infrastructure Projects in the Ministry, Gabriel Asman, explains that by understanding more about this new culture, its financial capacity, the current scenario and requirements, it will be possible to strengthen measures to enhance and support the production chain in the country, through specific action plans aimed at developing Hops cultivation in Brazil. “After the completion of the study, which is carried out within the scope of the partnership between Mapa and IICA, it will be possible to develop production structuring programs for the allocation of harvesting and processing equipment to producer cooperatives.”
A survey conducted by the Brazilian Association of Hops Producers (Aprolúpulo), which collaborated with 109 producers across the country, showed that Brazil has about 42 hectares planted, which represents a growth of 110% over the previous year, and the approximate total production is about 24 tons. Santa Catarina is the state with the highest percentage of producers (27%), followed by Rio Grande do Sul (22%), São Paulo (18%), Paraná (7%), Minas Gerais (6%) and Rio de Janeiro. (5%). In terms of cultivated area, Santa Catarina also ranks first, with a total area of 12,105 hectares of cultivated area.
The most widespread hops varieties in the country in order are: Cascade, Comet, Chinook, Columbus, Nugget, Saaz, Hallertau Mittelfrüeh, Hallertau, Magnum, Centennial and Zeus.
Brazil is the third largest beer producer in the world, after only China and the United States, according to a survey published by the Barth-Haas Group in 2020. According to the Brazilian Beer Industry Association (CervBrasil), national production is about 14 billion liters annually and represents 1.6% of GDP , with sales of R$100 billion/year and generating 2.7 million jobs.
Another input that makes beer is barley, the raw material for barley, the main source of fermentable sugars, which give the drink texture, colour, aromas and flavours. In order to be used, the grain undergoes a processing process to produce fermented malt, which takes place in three distinct stages: soaking, germination and drying.
According to Embrapa Trigo, barley production in 2019 (429.4 thousand tons) was a record in Brazil. In 2020, due to climate problems in Rio Grande do Sul (lack of water and late frosts) and a decrease in the cultivated area due to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, production fell to 374.4 thousand tons. In 2021, a recovery is expected, with an expected production of 424.1 thousand tons.
Demand for barley is increasing, driven by the growth of the beer market. “The demand has increased due to the demand for barley, currently in the range of 1.6 million tons. Given that the same volume for 2019 was imported in 2020, Brazil will import about 68% of this volume required and produce about 32% of the national demand,” highlights On the Genetics and Optimization Researcher (Annual Crops) of Embrapa Trigo, Aloísio Villarino.
In 2019, 31 million tons of barley grain and about 8 million tons of barley were sold in the world. In the same year, Brazil imported 671,000 tons of barley grain, ranking 11th among the world’s largest importers of barley. It also imported 1.09 million tons of barley, ranking first among the largest importers of barley in the world.
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