East Kent Goldings have become the first variety of hops to have their name protected against imitation.
Defra announced today the hops had won Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status from the European Commission in “recognition of their quality, history, and links to the local area”.
“PDOs help to keep traditional recipes alive and make a valuable contribution to the local and national economy,” said food and farming minister David Heath.
“It’s great to see a hop join the growing number of British products whose traditions and ties with their local area are being recognised.”
“East Kent Goldings have a delicate floral aroma of lightly sweet lemon and are used in some of the finest ales and beers in the UK and USA”
Tony Redsell, hop grower
Used in pale ales and English ales, East Kent Goldings were first identified around 1790 and have been sold under that name since 1838. Their flavour characteristics are influenced by the soil of East Kent and by exposure to the “cold, salt-laden winds of the Thames Estuary”, according to Defra’s PDO specification.
Tony Redsell, director of TG Redsell, which grows East Kent Goldings near Faversham, said: “We are delighted that the unique character of the East Kent Golding has been recognised by the Commission by awarding the Protected Designation of Origin status.
“East Kent Goldings have a delicate floral aroma of lightly sweet lemon and are used in some of the finest ales and beers in the UK and USA.”
Protected name status can add value to a product - so why aren’t more food producers signing up?
There are currently 59 products in the UK with protected name status, encompassing items from Dorset Blue cheese to Welsh Lamb. Their value to the UK economy is estimated to be €1.1bn, placing the UK fourth in the EU in terms of value derived from protected name status.
Defra is encouraging more food producers to apply for their products to join the scheme, although experts point out the process can take several years.
“It can be difficult,” food historian and writer Catherine Brown told The Grocer. “They’ve got to go through quite a lot of hoops. But that is necessary to ensure they’re getting it right.”