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.
Canada. Small breweries make a big splash
“You’ve got to come and check out the back. This is just awesome,” says Shephard, a 25-year veteran of the food and restaurant business.
Awesome might not be the word most people would choose to describe a chilly, dark room filled with construction rubble and in dire need of a paint job. But in that mess, Shephard sees space to indulge his latest project; a brewery attached to his Burger Bar restaurant.
“I’m just getting the licenses and all the paperwork sorted out, but I’m planning to be up and running this year,” said Shephard. In fact, he’s already having some beer brewed under his “Kensington Brewing Company” banner at Etobicoke-based Black Oak Brewing.
Shephard’s project is just one of four brewpubs and small breweries slated to start up in the Toronto area this year. In the last 18 months, there have already been another four: The trickle of small-batch flavourful brews is turning into a flood of good suds.
That’s no surprise to beer author and long-time industry watcher Stephen Beaumont.
“This is the only part of the beer market that’s growing, and it’s doing it in double-digit numbers,” said Beaumont, who calls it an exciting time for Toronto’s beer scene. “We’re so close to seeing craft beer drastically alter the beer scene.”
At the LCBO, sales of Ontario craft beer have been growing by leaps and bounds, too. In the year ending Feb. 26, Ontario craft beer sales rose by 46 per cent at the LCBO. Overall beer sales at the LCBO rose just 4 per cent in the same period.
“It’s a small segment but by far the growth segment for beer,” said LCBO spokesperson Chris Layton.
In contrast, overall beer consumption in Canada has been flat or declining for the better part of the last three decades.
Not that the big guys have reason to panic about market share just yet: Despite the rise, craft breweries hold just a 5 per cent share of the Ontario market, according to the Ontario Craft Brewers trade association.
While Shephard was driven by a passion for good beer, there’s also a more than solid business reason for starting up his own brewing operation; it’s more profitable than serving someone else’s.
“It costs me about $2.50 a pint for someone else’s beer. Making my own will cost me about half of that, but because it’s a handmade, premium product I’ll still be able to tell it for the same price,” said Shephard.
At downtown Toronto’s Bar Volo, which serves more than 170 different kinds of bottled and draft beers from around the world, owner Ralph Morana decided last year to start making his own wares too. Morana’s “House Ales” brand has its official launch later this month, although he started brewing late last year.
If it’s that profitable, why isn’t every single bar or restaurant owner making their own brew?
Red tape and financing are two of the biggest reasons, says Jason Fisher, whose Indie Alehouse is opening in the formerly alcohol-free Junction neighbourhood in June.
Fisher, a former marketing executive at Bell Canada and American Express, has been working full-time for almost two years to get his brewpub up and running. While finding equipment and coming up with staff has taken plenty of time and energy, dealing with three levels of government has been the biggest drain.
“I had to pay the city $100 to get a letter saying that I wasn’t opening in a dry area, even though there isn’t a single dry area in the city any more,” said an exasperated-sounding Fisher. There were also city zoning bylaws which put the kibosh on four potential locations before Fisher settled on a former storefront on Dundas St. West for the site of the Indie Alehouse.
That frustration was echoed by Volo’s Morana. One form submitted to the federal government’s excise tax department was bounced back three times for small errors made by his insurance company. The excise tax people also wanted to see a diagram of his brewing area.
“I sent them a picture and they laughed when they saw how small it was,” said Morana of his tiny system, which can make just 140 pints of beer at a time.
Getting banks to lend money to someone going into the notoriously-unstable hospitality business can be a tough sell too, Fisher added.
“If I didn’t have equity in my house and a good network of people to get advice from, it would have been very difficult,” said Fisher, who took out a $350,000 loan under a small business program backed by the federal government. He also raised small amounts from friends and family.
“If you think you can do it for under $400,000, you’re dreaming, but $1,000,000 isn’t out of the question either, depending on what neighbourhood you’re in,” said Fisher.
Despite the hassles, it’s something Morana and Fisher wouldn’t trade for the world.
“I put a couple of casks of one of my beers on sale a few weeks ago, and it sold out in two and a half hours. That’s a pretty amazing feeling, knowing that people like what you do,” said Morana.
8 Apr. 2011