Is Growing Hops in Greenhouses and Vertical Farms What Comes Next?

June 10, 2024

Hydroponic Hops

The hydroponic hops market is gaining momentum, driven by the growing demand for craft beer and the innovative efforts of new players like Spain’s Ekonoke. Our latest briefing paper delves into the dynamics and economics of this market, highlighting both the opportunities and challenges faced by hydroponic hops growers.

Hops Market Overview

The global hops market, valued at approximately USD 8.1bn in 2023, is projected to grow to USD 11.2bn by 2028. This growth is primarily driven by the increasing popularity of craft beer, which has elevated the demand for specific hop varieties. The U.S., with its robust craft beer industry, leads the market, followed by Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Factors influencing hops pricing include variety, quality, and alpha acid content.

Craft Beer Market Dynamics

In 2023, the U.S. craft brewing market reached an all-time high of over 9,600 operating breweries. Craft brewers are constantly seeking unique hop varieties to create distinctive flavors, driving demand for diverse hop sources. Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) systems offer several benefits for hop cultivation, including increased yield, year-round production, resource efficiency, and consistent quality. However, financial challenges such as high initial investments and operational costs must be considered.  It also offers opportunities for vendors, we highlight the work of TotalGrow Lights in the sector.

Ekonoke’s Innovative Approach

Ekonoke, a Spanish startup, exemplifies the potential of hydroponic hops cultivation. Specializing in growing hops in controlled indoor environments, Ekonoke’s method allows for multiple harvests per year. It significantly reduces water consumption. This innovative approach addresses key challenges faced by traditional hop growers, offering a promising solution for the brewing industry. Ekonoke has secured substantial funding, enabling it to scale operations and expand production facilities.


Transitioning to growing hydroponic hops in greenhouses and vertical farms involves a significant financial commitment but offers high returns due to better yield, quality, and market demand. As market trends in craft brewing favor new hydroponic hops farmers, this approach is gaining investor interest. For those in the indoor farming sector, hydroponic hops present a compelling alternative to traditional crops.

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