Barley is one of the main raw materials needed for beer brewing. It has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years, and today it is the fourth largest grain crop in the world grown in a variety of environments ranging from northern Scandinavia to the southern part of Australia.
Sugars, amino acids and other nutrients from the barley grain are metabolized by yeast during the fermentation process to generate alcohol and well-tasting compounds of beer. The quality of the barley grain is therefore central to the excellence of the final beer product.
Carlsberg Research Laboratory holds a leading position in the conventional development and breeding of malting barley. Using up-to-date growth and screening facilities and unique scientific expertise, the focus is to identify and breed cereals with innovative traits for future needs.
In the Raw Materials platform, research initiatives include:
- Cereal breeding with focus on barley
- Plant characterization
- Climate tolerance, sustainability
- Cell walls
New developments are designed to meet near- and medium-term needs of the brewery, as well as longer-term competitive needs of the company in the context of barley and malt. To achieve the ambitious goals, there are collaborations with internal and external customers – along with universities and research agencies around the world, e.g. as a partner of the International Barley Genome Consortium. In addition, platform members work on critical projects classified as "enabling" technologies.