Beer and Agriculture

Beer is a naturally brewed product borne of simple, locally grown ingredients, predominantly barely, hops, yeast and water, that help to support Australian farmers and regional communities…

Australia’s brewers source 1,050,000 tonnes* of malting barley and 500 tonnes** of hops from Australian farmers each year.

  • (*) Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre 2020.
    (**) Hop Products Australia 2020.

Australia is world-renowned for producing high quality malting barley. In Australia, barley is second in crop size only to wheat, covering almost 4 million hectares sweeping from central and southern Queensland, throughout north to south mid-western NSW, northern and western Victoria, north to south central Tasmania, south-east and south-central SA and south-western WA.

  • Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre 2020.

Domestically, our brewers source 1,050,000 tonnes of malting barley from Australian farmers a year. Locally-based brewers are tightly linked into Australia’s barley production and strong relationships exist between all facets of the industry – from breeder to brewer and all stages in between.

  • Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre 2020.

Australian hops are internationally sought after. Hops are grown primarily for their flavour profile to produce beer and are farmed over 289 hectares in Tasmania and 411 hectares Victoria, yielding 704.3 tonnes in Tasmania and 940.4 tonnes in Victoria – over 165 million tonnes in all.

  • The Barth Report, Hops 2018-19, Barth-Haas Group, July 2019.

The crop yield for Australian hops continued its growth in 2019, up more than 62 tonnes to total 1,644.7 tonnes. An increase of 3.8%.

In 2017, surging demand to fill forward contracts saw the Tasmanian crop yield increase from 530.7 tonnes in 2016 to 600.9 (up 11.6%), while the Victorian crop yield increased from 574.1 tonnes in 2016 to 837.4 tonnes (31.4%).

In 2018, despite heavy rains and fires impacting yield expectations across both states, the Tasmanian crop yield increased to 624.9 tonnes (up 3.8%) and the Victorian crop increased to 957.4 tonnes (up 12.5%).

  • The Barth Report, Hops 2018-19, Barth-Haas Group, July 2019.

The predominant varieties of Australian hops are Galaxy, Super Pride, Ella and Pride of Ringwood in Tasmania, and Galaxy, Vic Secret, Super Pride, Pride of Ringwood, Topaz and Ella in Victoria.

  • The Barth Report, Hops 2018-19, Barth-Haas Group, July 2019.

When it comes to beer, sugars are essential. During the first stages of brewing sugars are extracted from the malted barley and, sometimes, cane sugar is added to finesse the taste and balance. However, during the fermentation process, yeast consumes virtually all sugars. Typically, this makes beer 99% sugar-free.

For the step-by-step video story on how barely, hops, yeast and water combine to make your favourite brew, see our Making Beer page.