There may be some of you out there who think plants are boring and would rather be in the pub than the garden. But don’t you know the plants maketh the pub? In fact, without plants, there would be no pubs at all – plants give us booze.

Humulus lupulus

For a start, if there was no humilis, the common hops, there would be no beer or real ale.

The twining hedgerow climber has been used for centuries to make beer because it flavours the beer as well as helping with foaming and making it last too. The inflorescences are the flowering stalks, and these are the parts used to make the drink.


This plant flowers during summer, which are green-yellow in colour, and the female flowers develop into the fruits which have a strong and distinct smell.



Without Vitis, the plant that gives us grapes, we’d have no wine and champagne, nor any port or sherry.

Vitis vinifera (common grape or European grape) is also known as the ‘wine grape’. There are many varieties of this species, and many of wines are produced from cultivars of them.

As well as being made into wine, the fruits can be dried to make raisins.

Apples & pears

We’d have no cider available if it wasn’t for Malus and Pyrus (apples and pears). Some suitable apples used in sweeter ciders include ‘Gala’, ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Cortland’. On the other hand, ‘Pink Lady’ is good for a more acidic flavour.

All varieties of apple can be used to make cider, however there are some grown specifically for cider.


The difference between cider apples and other types are the level of tannin in them. Tannin is an organic substance in all apples, but there is more of it in cider apples, leading to the bitter taste. Examples of cider apples are ‘Kingston Black’ and ‘Yarlington Mill’.

Prunus spinosa


In the spirit shelves, the loss of Prunus spinosa (blackthorn or sloe) means no sloe gin.

You can make your own sloe gin by picking sloe berries when they are ripe. They will be rich dark purple and squash easily, and if they’ve started to drop to the ground, it shows that they’re ready.


Vodka is most commonly produced from potatoes and cereal grains, and the raw ingredients will obviously have an impact on the taste. Potatoes that are chosen are done so because of the high amount of starch.

In fact, the starch content of potatoes are used is about 25% compared to 17% of regular potatoes that we eat. In addition, smaller potatoes are best to use because they are higher in starch.


…and everything else


It’s not just alcohol! Chips, crisps, nuts, tea, coffee, gherkins, chocolate, and all pub grub would be gone. Plus, all the wooden chairs, tables, barstools – there wouldn’t even be a bar! Nor a dartboard, pool cue, or playing cards.

You couldn’t even go to the pub to watch the big game because what would your team play on without grass?

So, when you’re next in the pub, remember you owe everything to plants. Raise a glass and give three cheers for plants!

Find out more about growing veg at home:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: