Which innovations currently play an important role at the Hopcenter Hallertau?


In 2009, we doubled our cultivation area and invested in state-of-the-art equipment. It was the best equipment available at the time for hop cultivation. What was not on the market back then was our drying system, which is operated using compressed air. Of course, there will always be some who think a few of our ideas are too risky, but rest assured that I do all of the necessary calculations so that every one of our investments pays off.


Mr. Brenner, as the saying goes: “Once hops have you, they never let go”. Why is that so?


That has certainly been the case with me. I’ve grown up around hops as part of the family business. I have always and continue to find the plant absolutely fascinating. Fortunately, my employees are of the same opinion – even though hops often require hard work, for us it’s always been a lot of fun.


You are very enthusiastic. Are hops really worth all the effort?


Absolutely! Even though the hop plant is a prima donna in the agricultural world. During the growing season, the plants are cared for around the clock. But the more work we put into it, the more the plants give us in return. In an eight-week period, the hop plants grow up to seven meters, developing their complex, unmistakable aroma. The biological product which results is a concentrated bundle of energy, which channels the pure power of nature.



What else makes a hop farmer successful?


In my opinion, as a group, hop farmers are often more creative and open to new ideas than farmers who cultivate more conventional crops. We are also innovative. For instance, around 1955 the first mechanical hop picker was introduced to the market. At the time, it was the most complex and expensive agricultural machine ever built.

Up to the present, our focus has continued to be on developing newer, more efficient equipment and techniques for the cultivation and processing of hops. There is a lot of activity in our branch of the industry. Above all else, success requires flexibility in how we think on a daily basis, whether it is the constant desire to improve technology, to drive innovation concerning the utilization of hops or to invest in the future of our company.


Is there anything else new going on in Eja?


Naturally, I am always working on new ideas. Since everything at the Hopcenter revolves around hops, also referred to regionally as “green gold”, we are also exploring sources of renewable energy. Using sustainable raw materials to generate energy is a topic with a great deal of promise. Presently, I am looking into Igniscum, a robust, resource-conserving plant. A member of the knotweed or smartweed family, Igniscum can be converted into pellets and burned as fuel.


Johann Brenner

Agriculture Master

has directed the Hop Center in Pfaffenhofen-Eja for 20 years.