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Bob Brewer answers your questions about the world of beer & brewing.
Chris Wright (via Facebook): Hello Bob, a big issue for me and many others is GMO crops. Can you tell me if you use GMO Hops?
Bob: Hi, Chris. The debate over GMOs is heated and emotional and fraught with a staggering amount of misinformation.
The biggest obstacle to any reasonable discussion is the fact that there are different ideas as to what constitutes a “genetically modified organism.” Many crops that have been labeled as GMO are merely ‘selectively pollenated’. Selectively pollenated plants produce hybrids and are not truly ‘modified’, but are a product of selective breeding to produce desirable characteristics and eliminate undesirable ones.
In the case of hops, the seed does not plant true. In other words, a new plant grown from the seed does not produce the same fruit as the mother plant. Hops generate from a root, or rhizome, that is perennial and new plantings are made with cuttings from these.
Scientists in labs are constantly searching for new varieties of hops. Mankind has been hybridizing plants since the dawn of agriculture, over 10,000 years ago.
The specter of Dr. Frankenstein extracting octopus DNA and inserting into a hop plant makes a scary story but the reality is a botanist toiling away in a greenhouse somewhere looking for minor varietal variations in a sea of potted plants.
I have not heard of any GMO hops being used in the industry. Virtually all North American hops and most others have, however, been hybridized somewhere along the way. As such, the hops we use at Anchor are hybrids as well.
Read full, original post: Ask Bob Brewer: Does Anchor Use GMO Hops?