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Global hop market

A 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 Russia

Germany 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.

Sweetwater Brewing Plans to Expand

Atlanta-based Sweetwater Brewing Co. plans to quadruple its beer-making capacity to 400,000 barrels a year with a combination of new construction and the purchase of an existing building.
In June, Sweetwater plans to start work on a 49,000-square-foot packaging and bottling facility to link its brewery with a newly acquired 38,000-square-foot structure in the Armour Circle Industrial Park near Piedmont Road. That building will be used to store finished goods, raw ingredients and promotional materials.
Sweetwater has operated out of its existing brewery since 2004. It is already one of the largest independent brewers in the Southeast, and the expansion will make it an even bigger player in the fast-growing craft beer industry.
"Permits are in process and plans are under way," said Steve Farace, director of marketing. "We're pretty convinced that the demand is there."
On paper, Sweetwater can produce up to 100,000 barrels of beer annually if it ran at full tilt. The company produced 77,000 barrels last year.
"The walls are definitely getting tight," Farace said. "We're pushing the envelope as it is just to keep up with the existing demand."
The craft beer industry is growing at a fast pace, according to the Colorado-based Brewers Association, a trade group. Sales of craft beers rose 11 percent by volume and 12 percent in dollars last year. That was a faster pace than in 2009.
With the overall beer industry struggling to grow, craft beers such as those produced by Sweetwater and Athens-based Terrapin Beer Co. are grabbing more market share. The craft industry's retail sales totaled an estimated $7.6 billion in 2010, according to the Brewers Association.
Sweetwater sells its beer in six states. It is fielding calls from wholesalers in Missouri, Connecticut and other states, who want to know whether the company is ready to ship its beer far outside its Southeast base.
"The quick answer is no," Farace said. "We've been incredibly slow and steady in terms of how we expand geographically."

27 Mar. 2011



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