A farmer has been involved in a trial of new varieties of organic hops that are resilient to climate change in the hope of securing the future of British-grown beer ingredients.

Tom Upton, from Woodlands Farm near Rye, has successfully grown a type of hop that was going to be ditched by conventional farmers.

The variety was susceptible to wilt on conventional farms but has thrived at Mr Upton’s organic one.

A group of cross-industry researchers have been developing crops over the last three years that can be grown organically in warmer temperatures and are more resilient to diseases.

The Innovative Farmers’ Hop Trial aims to bolster the UK’s cultivation of hops, which provide more flavour to beer on top of the base malt, after decades of declining production.

The traditional non-organic varieties grown in the UK, like Fuggle and Goldings, are under increasing stress from issues like climate change, disease and insects and low nitrogen availability.

They have also seen a fall in demand due to changing consumer tastes towards tropical flavours produced by hops that have been imported from countries such as the US.

Industry specialists said Harlequin, a hop that is already conventionally grown but had not been produced in an organic setting, and newer varieties called Endeavor and 302 had particular potential.

They said these had not only shown higher resilience to disease but produced exciting flavours, with notes such as “pineapple”, “strawberry laces”, “blackcurrant”, “spice” and “lemon”.

Mr Upton said the 302 variety he grew has “clearly turned out to be a very good marketable hop to make very good beer”.

He said the development work could have bigger implications for the British industry as a whole.

“The day’s rapidly approaching whereby conventional growers will either have to go out of business or they will have to adapt to growing in a manner perhaps similar to a way that we do now,” he said.

“So it’s an important project, not just for a very niche organic market but for the hops industry in general, where it’ll have to adapt to some of practices that we are pioneering.”