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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.


Beer Drinking and What It Says About China’s Economy

The average Chinese adult drank about a half a bottle of beer in 1961, less than the average resident of Iran. By 1991, consumption topped 27 bottles a year, but still lagged behind 117 other nations, according to the World Health Organization.

By 2007, the Chinese were drinking almost 103 beers per adult a year. While that’s still considerably less per capita than in beer gardens like the Czech Republic (where the average adult drinks about 471 beers a year) it’s enough to make China by far the world’s largest market for beer.

That story can be repeated for any number of consumer goods, of course. But what’s interesting about beer is that the trend is not likely to last. A paper by two economists at the University of Leuven, in beer-loving Belgium, finds that people drink more beer as their incomes rise, until they make about $22,000 a year.

Then they start drinking less beer.

The paper, brought to my attention by the Reuters blogger Felix Salmon, doesn’t offer much in the way of explanations, but perhaps the most obvious one is something many Americans personally experience in their 20s. As you start making more money, and assuming more responsibility, there is less opportunity to drink -– and the potential consequences become more costly.

People also start drinking more wine.

The paper notes that patterns of alcohol consumption are converging, diminishing the long-standing, much-caricatured division of Europe into a wine-drinking south and a beer-drinking north. (The history of these divisions is well-told in the delightful book “A History of the World In Six Glasses.”)

“Increased openness to trade and globalization has contributed to a convergence in alcohol consumption patterns across countries,” write the authors, Liesbeth Colen and Johan Swinnen. Wine drinking increased in places like Germany and Belgium, while beer drinking spiked in Greece and Spain. (France, however, is sitting out the trend.)

This suggests, notes Mr. Salmon, that the Chinese inevitably will start drinking more wine. Much the same thing appears to be happening in Brazil, Russia and other emerging markets. But not in India, where the major religions frown on drinking alcohol, and neither beer nor wine is heavily consumed.

27 Apr. 2011



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