Flicking through my copy of Camra's 'What's Brewing' this month, I came across an article which caused me a little concern. It seems the days of the Fuggle hop may be numbered.
Post war, the majority of hop production in Britain was Fuggles and they were concentrated in the South East, especially Kent. However, due to an outbreak of a fungal infection that killed thousands of hop plants, production there has virtually ceased and most of the Fuggles grown in the country are concentrated in the West Midlands. The Fuggle hop seems to be in a no win situation now, a susceptiblity to infection, low yields, and a change in drinker's tastes have all combined to its decline.
Of course, there are foreign alternatives, there usually is, but if the trend continues it seems we may soon see the last of one of our most famous and iconic native hop varieties. And possibly with it, a loss of some of our classic beers.