Plant & Food Research Scientist Wins Morton Coutts Award

Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Ron Beatson was awarded the prestigious Morton Coutts Trophy at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand 2021 New Zealand Beer Awards in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the New Zealand hops industry.

Dr Beatson has led the research and development of hop breeding and genetics for 38 years at Plant & Food Research. Based at the Motueka Research Centre, he recently celebrated his 50th anniversary as a Plant & Food Research scientist.

Over the past three decades, New Zealand-grown hops have built a strong reputation for novelty and high quality with the brewing industry globally. Dr Beatson has been instrumental in the research, development and release of 16 specialty hop cultivars imparting unique flavours to beer, varieties including Motueka™, Riwaka™, Nelson Sauvin™ and the recently released Nectaron® - named in part for its creator - which have placed New Zealand hops on the world stage. 

Dr Kieran Elborough, Group GM Technology Development of Plant & Food Research noted that Dr Beatson is a leading expert in hops research. He is highly regarded by the industry, and well respected by his peers, collaborators and clients. 

“His successful breeding and selection of new hops cultivars have transformed the New Zealand brewing industry. Because of his foresight, we have the basis to keep producing new hops that will surprise and exceed the expectations of brewers and growers,” continued Elborough.

“The recent expansion of the NZ hop industry in area and volume is in no small part due to cultivars bred and selected by Dr Beatson.”

Craig Orr, Chief Executive NZ Hops said that NZ Hops has a long standing relationship with Plant & Food Research enabling them to remain at the forefront of innovation in the industry.

“Ron wholeheartedly deserves this award for his outstanding achievements and dedication. Without his work, we wouldn't have our hugely popular and unique hop varieties, such as Nectaron®, Nelson Sauvin™ and others.  Working alongside our Master Growers, we have been able to produce world-renowned hops for our brewers, who are in turn, able to produce award-winning brews. Congratulations Ron on this momentous occasion.”

The Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards celebrates and recognises quality not only in beer but also in the broader organisations and individuals that make the New Zealand brewing industry so vibrant.

Named after the New Zealand inventor who revolutionised the science of brewing beer through the continuous fermentation method, the prestigious Morton Coutts award recognises innovation and/or outstanding achievement in the brewing industry.