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.
Heineken accused of ‘raw deal’ for S&N pensioners
The S&N Pensions Group (SNPG) is lobbying the Commons' business, innovation and skills select committee to investigate allegations that Heineken has failed to fulfil undertakings given on the pension scheme before the takeover of the Edinburgh brewer in 2008.
Tom Ward - former S&N corporate development and strategy director and now the spokesman for the campaign - claimed existing S&N pensioners, former employees with deferred pensions and current members of the renamed Heineken UK had "been given a raw deal and treated unfairly and dishonourably".
He added: "Before the takeover, we understood that Heineken NV, the parent company, stood firmly behind its public and private commitments on pensions.
"To now make a U-turn on its very public undertaking to follow S&N's 40 years or so of company practice in applying inflationary increases to pensions is deeply offensive."
SNPG said that, at a shareholder EGM in March 2008 to approve the joint ?7.8 billion takeover by Heineken and Carlsberg of Denmark, it was explicitly stated "there is a practice of providing discretionary pension increases each year… it is Heineken's intention to continue this practice".
SNPG said the commitment was also made to the Court of Session the following month, which passed the scheme of arrangement for the takeover to go ahead. The commitment to inflation-linked pension increases relates to S&N pensions built up in the scheme before April 1997, before which such increases were not mandatory.
SNPG said Heineken paid an inflation-linked pension increase in 2008, there was "understandably" no inflation linked rise in 2009 when inflation was virtually zero, but that the Dutch brewer paid nothing for 2010 when inflation was running at more than 4 per cent.
SNPG maintained that, although the word "discretionary" was used formally in the takeover relating to such payments, S&N's Dutch owner has acted "in bad faith" given that it was well aware the Scottish management had a "near-perfect record" of making such payments going back to the 1970s.
Ward said: "Heineken knew exactly what S&N's management meant in our discussions on pensions (before the takeover]. It was very well-established practice, if not legally guaranteed.
"We were not playing with words. We are talking, in many cases, of people who are 70 and 75 years old, perhaps on pensions of ?6,000 and ?7,000 a year, for whom a retail prices index-linked pension means a lot."
7 Jun. 2011