First of its kind: Hungarian organic beer has been developed
The Elixbeer Consortium, led by Körös-Maros Biofarm Ltd., has developed a Hungarian organic beer product family from alternative cereals. This achievement was the result of six years of research. The company used almost HUF 400 million (EUR 1.07 million) of EU funding, said Zoltán Várhelyi, project manager of Körös-Maros Biofarm Ltd.
The aim: developing organic beer and malt beverates
The aim was to develop organic beers and malt beverages with improved palatability using indigenously bred cereals, Index informs. To this end, the two research institutes (the Agricultural Institute of the Agricultural Research Centre and the Szeged-based Grain Research Ltd.) carried out grain breeding with a focus on the usability in the beer industry. The cultivation technology of the bred grain was optimised on about 100 hectares of Biofarm’s arable land, Mr Várhelyi said.
The total cost of the development was HUF 496.5 million (EUR 1.33 million).
State variety recognition, several types of beverages
Mr Várhelyi said that as a result of the project, several bred cereal varieties have received state variety recognition. Furthermore, a range of 9 types of beer and non-alcoholic malt beverages, all of organic quality, has been produced. The beers are based on malts made from organic barley, wheat and alternative grains. In addition to the organic lager ‘base beer’, there is also a buckwheat beer made from pure gluten-free ingredients, a non-alcoholic beer with a fruity flavour and a high antioxidant content.
To confirm the quality of the products, an online organic food certification system has been developed, making it easy to trace the entire production chain from farm to table, Mr Várhelyi noted.
Less beer is being produced
Mr Várhelyi told MTI that ecological grains can be grown with lower yields, typically 2-3 tons per hectare. In the peak year, about 200,000 0.33 liter bottles of beer were produced from them. Due to drought, increased energy costs and the loss of outlets forced to close by the coronavirus epidemic, less beer is now being produced.
Körös-Maros Biofarm is one of the largest organic dairy farms in Hungary. It was founded as a family business in 1990. They farm about 1070 hectares of integrated ecological area and have 700 milking cows and 800 young animals on their cattle farm. In addition to livestock farming, they also grow organic grain.