Hops harvest in Czech Republic expected to be down by third in 2015 due to drought

The Czech Republic's harvest for hops — the dried seed cones that give beer its bitter taste and aroma — is expected to plummet by more than a third this year due to a serious drought.

Czechs are by far the biggest beer drinkers in the world per capita and the Czech Republic is also one of the top producers of hops.

Lubos Hejda, the head of the Hop Growers Union of the Czech Republic, said Thursday the country's production is expected to fall by some 34 percent to 4,100 metric tons from 6.202 metric tons in 2014. He cited a long-term drought as the main reason.

Almost 80 percent of Czech hops is exported. Most of the production is the so-called Saaz variety used to brew premium brands.