An overview of beverage crops and underpinning research in New Zealand

J. Stanley, R. Beatson, R. Hurst, D. Martin, J. Turner
New Zealand produces a range of beverage crops, including grapes for wine, hops and barley for beer, fruit for juices, smoothies and cider, raw materials for alcoholic spirits, natural water, and a range of unique ingredients suitable for use in beverages. Wine has the largest export value of New Zealand's beverages, worth $US 1 B in 2017. Wine grape production has increased rapidly, from around 5,000 ha in 1990 to 38,000 ha in 2018. Hop production has increased from 200 t in 1977 to 800 t in 2014, with over 80% of production exported to the premium end of the international beer markets. Beer production in New Zealand has dropped from 400,000 t in 1987 to 280,000 t in 2013, with an export value of $US 26 M in 2015. However, there has been an increase in beer quality and in the number of microbreweries making speciality beers, and the industry is supported by a hop breeding programme. New Zealand produces significant quantities of apples, kiwifruit and other fruit, mainly grown as fresh products, with a focus on distinct new cultivars that have high value. Some fruit is also used for production of juice and cider, with an export value of $US 51 and 11 M, respectively, in 2015. There are breeding programmes for blueberry, raspberry, boysenberry and blackcurrants, from which some resulting cultivars are used in the beverage industry. Research into the health benefits of consuming berries in juices and smoothies is also supporting New Zealand's berry industries. Soft drink and spirits exports were worth $US 90 and 24 M, respectively, in 2015, developed from substantial quantities of raw materials grown in New Zealand. We discuss production of these crops used for beverages, with a focus on the research that supports them.
Stanley, J., Beatson, R., Hurst, R., Martin, D. and Turner, J. (2020). An overview of beverage crops and underpinning research in New Zealand. Acta Hortic. 1274, 65-70
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1274.7
wine, grapes, beer, hops, fruit juices, berryfruit, breeding programmes

Acta Horticulturae