You probably won't notice it during Friday drinks, but there has been a shortage in hop for the production of beer. The hop that is normally grown in the open field has faced failed harvests. It is the reason hop growers are slowly switching to conditioned growth.
Compared to the cultivation of tomatoes or cucumbers, hop cultivation looks rather strange to outsiders. The fast growing climbing plant grows to a height of several meters in a short time, and produces flowers which are used in the conservation of beer. When growing under controlled circumstances, lighting is one of the ways to increase the yield of the plant. And to make the cultivation even more sustainable, vertical lighting could be the solution, according to LED supplier Light Engine. They developed the Cabled vertical fixtures.
Ramon de Vrie, Light Engine: "The light is evenly distributed over the plants, reducing shadows. By placing the plants closer together, you can increase the yield. This is particularly important for growers who are reluctant to switch to conditioned cultivation due to the high energy costs. LED lighting is definitely more sustainable than regular lighting, and by placing the fixtures vertically we use the light optimally."
Looking for the ideal light recipe
Now there are various hop companies which have the Cabled hanging vertically in their greenhouse. They can be found in Hong Kong, the US, and Australia. Besides extensive experimenting in practice, Light Engine is looking for partners and laboratories to test which effects the lights have on the quality and productivity.
"We want to elaborate on the light spectra, wattage, and the number of light hours. When we have found the ideal light recipe, we expect that the grower will have a high yield of high quality." And so it can be that in a few years it will be normal to drink a beer from the greenhouse.