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28th April 2023

Independent Bristol brewery Wiper and True explore ways to reduce food miles in beer with new Slovenian-hopped Pale Ale

On May 1st independent Bristol brewery Wiper and True release Upside Down, a new-recipe 5.0% Pale Ale brewed with hops grown in Slovenia. The rare varietal used is named Styrian Dragon, and brings dreamy notes of lemon and passionfruit. The recipe was designed to evoke some of the expressive, magical flavours of contemporary American style pale ales, whilst using some ingredients grown a little closer to home. In this press release we share an honest picture of the environmental impact of using Slovenian hops in a beer. If you’d like to receive a press sample of the beer, please email

The hops used in Upside Down were grown by Simon Gajsek, whose hop yard is based in Latkova

Vas, in the eastern-central region of Slovenia, historically known as Styria. Their mighty name, Styrian Dragon, comes from their vigorous growth habit; these bines are extremely strong growing, with dramatic forking branches – like those of a dragon’s tail. More evocatively, though, the ‘Dragon’ in their nomenclature also refers to the immensely potent aroma of the hops themselves – described as being almost like the fire that erupts from a dragon’s jaws.


The Wiper and True brew team always buy the finest, freshest hop crops for our beers, mainly selecting varieties from America and New Zealand. This is, quite simply, because they love the flavours and aromas of hops from these regions, grown by talented, experienced producers. This means that although they’re the third smallest ingredient by weight in most Wiper and True beers, hops are, in many ways, the most contentious ingredient from an environmental impact perspective.

In large part this is due to the way they’re grown and stored (often hops are chilled or frozen to ensure maximum freshness), but also because of the transportation required to move them – often halfway around the world – from where they’re grown to our brewery. Like many breweries, Wiper and True are often asked why they don’t use more British hops in beers, and it’s simply a question of achieving the flavours and aromas we’re looking for in their recipes. The majority of the malt used at Wiper and True is grown locally, and one day the team would love to use all-native hops in the same way. In some more traditional brews, such as Milk Shake and the new cask Mild, Wiper and True are already using British hops, but sadly the native varietals currently available commercially simply aren’t a match for their new world counterparts when used in more contemporary beers like Kaleidoscope or our hoppy seasonal IPAs.


Wiper and True never rule anything out though, and are always looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. They love working with hop companies from closer to home, and are constantly trialling new varieties and innovations coming through to the market. The brew team had been closely following the development of hop growing in Slovenia for a while, and were really intrigued about the buzz around these varieties, grown a lot closer to home. After some initial quality tests, the team leapt at the chance to work with British hop supplier Charles Faram, who stock and distributing Slovenian hops in conjunction with Slo Hops.

Speaking about their partnership with the Slovenian growers, Charlie from Charles Faram told us:

“Hop growing in Slovenia has many challenges. Its climate is sub-Mediterranean, meaning it has long, sometimes extremely hot summers, but also the benefits of cold winters with Alpine influence. Growers in Slovenia have recognised the requirement for new varieties, and the growers and Slovenian government have set up an international centre of excellence in hop breeding, the Slovenian Hop Research Institute. Charles Faram are in regular contact with this institution, and visit on a regular basis, helping to select plants with commercial prospects, for Slovenian growers to plant and hopefully insure the future of hop growing in this incredibly beautiful part of Europe. Styrian Dragon is one of these plants; it has new world aromas and flavours, whilst also showing the refined terroir of Slovenia.”


So, flavours and botany aside, what are the environmental impacts of choosing hops from European neighbours, rather than from the South Pacific or North America? Looking at food miles from hop transportation alone, the difference is stark. To get to Charles Faram in Worcestershire, Styrian Dragon hops travel 1420 kilometres from Simon Gajsek’s farm in Slovenia. This equates to 836 kilograms of C02 emissions. Most trailers from Slovenia carry around 210 bales at 60 kilograms per bale, equalling 12,600 kilograms. Using these figures, Charles Faram were able to calculate grams of C02 per kilogram of hops:

836 ÷ 12,600 × 1000 = 66.34 g of C02 per kg of hop

Figures taken from Charles Faram’s 2022 Sustainability Evaluation Report

Mapping the same process of transporting American hops, Charles Faram estimate a total of 136 grams of C02 is produced when transporting every kilogram of hops. This means that by using European hops, we have effectively halved the amount of C02 emitted in transporting the ingredients to the United Kingdom.

Clearly, this doesn’t tell the entire story. Energy is also needed to grow, harvest and package the hops, and to transport the hops from Charles Faram to Bristol (a 7 tonne truck delivering 100 kilograms to Bristol generates 0.83 kilogram of C02 on a 78 kilometre journey). Then there’s storing the hops in our cold store at the brewery to preserve their freshness; not to mention the energy used to brew, package and distribute the finished beer. To get a full understanding of the environmental impact of different hops we would need a full life cycle analysis, which isn’t currently available for all the ingredients we use. However, based on food miles alone, there’s certainly a very compelling argument for using more Slovenian hops in our beers.


So, where do Wiper and True go from here? This is one step forward in a constant journey towards becoming a more sustainable brewery. It’s not perfect, and it’s not the end of the road for the brewery’s work with other hop regions. The brew team will continue monitoring the UK and European hop markets for new variants that can hold their own in a hazy IPA, and will continue working hard across the business to become the most sustainable brewery possible.


For samples or any further information, imagery or samples please email

About Wiper and True

Wiper and True are an independent craft brewery based in Bristol. Their focus is on creating refined, carefully considered beer in the most sustainable way possible. The business started life in 2012, with three friends creating homebrew beer on their kitchen stovetops. Over the next few years the trio produced beer nomadically, brewing through the night and at weekends at breweries across the country. In 2015 Wiper and True built their own brewery in Bristol, where they brewed for the next seven years, before expanding into an additional bespoke new brewery and 500-person capacity taproom in Old Market, Bristol, in July 2022.

For samples or any further information, imagery or samples please email