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Hoppiness Is Happiness? Under-fertilized Hop Treatments and Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Beer

Gnel Gabrielyan, Thomas Marsh, Jill McCluskey () and Carolyn F. Ross

Journal of Wine Economics, 2018, vol. 13, issue 2, 160-181

Abstract: The market structure and recipes for beer has been rapidly changing with craft beers attracting more consumers. Perceived hops quality (hoppiness) is one of the main attributes that microbrewers alter to differentiate their products to satisfy consumers’ changing tastes and preferences. We hypothesize that, in addition to manipulating beer-processing conditions, the conditions under which the hops are grown may also influence the final sensory properties of the beer. Using hops from a field experiment coupled with sensory attributes and sociodemographic characteristics from a contingent valuation survey, we analyzed the impact of under-fertilized hop treatments during the growing season on consumers’ willingness to pay for beer. The results indicate that uninformed consumers in a blind tasting could identify the differences in beer made from hops across the fertilization treatments and, thus, implying that all else equal sufficient fertilizer is required to achieve satisfactory hoppiness for which consumers are willing to pay. (JEL Classifications: C91, D12, L66, Q11)

Date: 2018
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