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4-2017

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.

UK. Heineken to charge for beer keg losses

Brewer Heineken UK is planning to introduce a ?25 charge for each beer and cider container customers fail to return after revealing kegs and casks are being lost at an alarming rate.
The company says the current loss rate has become unsustainable and will continue to be reflected in the increasing cost of beer and cider unless the problem is addressed. A new 11-gallon container costs ?75.

The new charges will come into effect later this summer after a monitoring “keg

balancing” scheme, which started at the beginning of March, has run for five months.

The charge will apply to all unreturned Heineken containers delivered to individual pubs, brewers, wholesalers and other account holders.

The flow of containers to and from outlets is being monitored, with customers being provided with a monthly statement showing the balance of containers delivered and returned.

Once the scheme has been established and customers have become acquainted with the system the ?25 charge will come into force, probably around July.

“We believe that a keg balance scheme is an appropriate and equitable step forward given the financial losses suffered by the industry,” Heineken said.

“A customer who regularly returns containers would see little or no cost but those who fail to return containers over a long period would bear a portion of the cost of replacing them and would incur debit charges to their trading account at the quarter end,” it added.

Heineken said its scheme differed significantly from a keg deposit arrangement and did not require ”up front” funding.

Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations presi-dent Nigel Williams admitted container losses were a major industry problem, but said the onus should not be placed entirely on licensees.

“There needs to be more input from delivery crews in recording take-aways and there needs generally to be more accuracy,” he said.

Licensee Geoff Sutcliffe of the Rising Sun, Wilpshire, Blackburn, said he had reservations about Heineken’s scheme. “It seems they are going to rely on the draymen to make it work. It’s going to put a lot of onus on them.”

7 Apr. 2011

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