New aesthetic regimes: The shifting global political ecology of aroma hops

Katharine Legun*, Matt Comi, Mark Vicol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper argues that aroma hops are a neoliberal crop par excellence, shaping new political ecologies and economies of hops production and marketing globally. The value of aroma hops has grown significantly over the last decade. The aesthetic and chemical properties of new aroma varieties are central to the new cultural and political milieu of the rapidly expanding craft beer brewing sector. In response, some hop-growing regions are expanding their production, while others are re-orienting to new market dynamics or attempting to maintain their existing production traditions. This paper will draw from qualitative fieldwork in the USA, Aotearoa (New Zealand), the UK, and Germany to explore the political, social and economic effects of the massive and rapid growth of aroma hops production. Developing the concept of an aesthetic regime, we will consider how the botany of hop plants have influenced the development of new power dynamics around distinction and control of aroma hop varieties. This generated a new aesthetic regime that reshapes regional infrastructures in breeding, cooperative marketing, and trade, while bringing regions into new relations with each other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Aesthetic regime
  • Craft beer
  • Hops
  • More-than-human
  • Neoliberalism
  • Political crops


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