Global hop marketA local alternative to mass beer suggested by independent brewers has been successful and is now altering the global market. Beer is becoming more diversified, so transnational companies have to accept the new game rules and to switch focus to young and fast growing markets. All these processes increased the demand for aroma and bitter hop as well as their acreage expansion on two continents. However now there appeared a downward trend of alcohol consumption in the world, so even special sorts can soon turn to be sufficient. In this connection the dynamic American hop market is already facing some problems. EU hop producers have become more cautious, they are not racing to exceed the demand and look forward with more confidence, judging by the contract terms.
Hop Market in RussiaGermany still dominates the Russian market, yet over the recent two years one has been able observe a continuous success of Czech hop suppliers. Their expansion and growing popularity of hops from the United States became the drivers of supplies growth in 2016 despite the preceding modest harvest crop in the EU, as well as the factor of relative stability in 2017. In this connection, in 2017, the ratio of the varieties continued to shift towards the aroma ones, and the supplies of Magnum hop and other alpha varieties were reduced. However, the import of bitter hop pellets is partially replaced by extracts, especially from the major beer manufacturers. Total volumes of alpha acid supplies, according to our estimation, decreased by approximately 5% and returned to the level of 2015. Barth Haas Group continues dominating the hop products market; HVG also increased its weight. At the same time, Morris Hanbury significantly reduced the supplies in 2017.
10+1 trends of Russian beer market 2015-2017Despite of the moderately negative prognoses for 2017, the beer market can be stabilized soon. Yet the years of the negative dynamics have resulted in marketing being limited just to “optimization” and the art of balancing between price and volumes. Bigger supermarkets share means stronger trade marketing. These processes are connected to the majority of the described trends. At the same time, the federal brands inflation leads to searching for new tastes, sales channels and contact formats that expand the product range and diversify the beer market, but do not imply a substantial volume increase. Let us enumerate and further discuss the ten trends of the beer market we can see in 2015-2017 as well as the major event of 2017.
Beer market of Ukraine 2017In the first half of 2017, the Ukrainian beer market goes on decreasing slowly. Yet, the companies manage to compensate their lost volumes by raising prices and improving the sales structures. This results in the mid price market segment reduction while the sales of premium brands are rising. These processes are connected to position strengthening of companies Carlsberg Group and Oasis and the market share reduction of Obolon. Most of the novelties by the market leaders belong to craft or hard lemon categories.
Beer market of Russia 2016: PET goes to draftThe beer market of Russia was warmed up by the hot summer, but the preparation for large volume PET prohibition has already impacted it negatively. The year was successful for Efes, MBC and regional producers; Carlsberg’s positions were virtually stable but AB InBev and Heineken lost a part of market share having focused on the sales profitability. The dynamics of big brands was determined by how much the companies were willing to keep the prices down or by their promotional activity. In this context the economy segment of the beer market and sales of inexpensive draft beer were increasing. The premium segment started shrinking due to license brands migrating to the mainstream segment.
Pub customers… who needs them?
But joking aside, customers are the lifeblood of our pubs - without them we would all fail - but do we fully understand their value? Do we know who they really are? Do we make them feel special? Do we communicate and stay in touch with our most valued ones?
Way back in 1984, Lauren and I bought our first pub. I was 26 and Lauren was just 23. I believed I was a very good chef and that people would flock to our door.
We actually didn't do too badly in our first year and we made a small profit, but a year in, I was invited to a marketing workshop. That day made me realise that while the quality of the product is very important to the success of our business, understanding the value of our existing customers and building a loyal and long-term trusted relationship with them, was the most important route to real success.
Since then, we have used this principle, to make all our pubs successful.
So what is the value of customers? A starting point is to look at why we lose them. Customer surveys say 68% of people do not return to a pub because of the attitude of the staff or the owner, while just 14% say it is because of dissatisfaction with the product.
So it seems simple; we and the staff we employ, must be good enough to make our customers enjoy what we offer them, so that they want to return and even, hopefully, recommend us to their friends and families.
This has to start with our pubs being totally "customer focused" - we need to offer excellent service, make the customers always feel welcome and important, make it easy for them to buy, make sure they want to return, make sure they remember who we are and ensure we know who they are.
Ever since that marketing workshop, way back in 1985, we have gathered the contact information of the most important commodity to the success of our pubs - our customers.
We now have a customer privilege club with more than 700 members. We make them feel special, give them preferential offers and reward vouchers, and keep in touch with them. At The Sun in the Wood we welcome over 40,000 customers a year, but those 700-plus club members bring in around 35% of our sales income.
Yes, we do need our customers, and we especially need to make sure we look after, keep in touch with and know who our best ones are.Phil Davison is host of the Sun in the Wood, Ashmore Green, Berkshire
2 Feb. 2011