Lager-brewing yeasts in the era of modern genetics

Arthur R. Gorter de Vries, Jack T. Pronk, Jean Marc G. Daran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)


The yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus is responsible for the annual worldwide production of almost 200 billion liters of lager-type beer. S. pastorianus is a hybrid of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces eubayanus that has been studied for well over a century. Scientific interest in S. pastorianus intensified upon the discovery, in 2011, of its S. eubayanus ancestor. Moreover, advances in whole-genome sequencing and genome editing now enable deeper exploration of the complex hybrid and aneuploid genome architectures of S. pastorianus strains. These developments not only provide novel insights into the emergence and domestication of S. pastorianus but also generate new opportunities for its industrial application. This review paper combines historical, technical and socioeconomic perspectives to analyze the evolutionary origin and genetics of S. pastorianus. In addition, it provides an overview of available methods for industrial strain improvement and an outlook on future industrial application of lager-brewing yeasts. Particular attention is given to the ongoing debate on whether current S. pastorianus originates from a single or multiple hybridization events and to the potential role of genome editing in developing industrial brewing yeast strains.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfoz063
Number of pages17
JournalFEMS Yeast Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Saccharomyces pastorianus
  • genome editing
  • hybrid heterosis
  • strain improvement
  • whole genome sequencing

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