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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.

US. New ‘Sonic’ Will Sell Beer and Wine

Want a beer with that burger? Sonic Drive-In in Homestead, Florida will soon become the first of the chain's 3,500 restaurants to offer beer and wine along with bacon cheeseburgers, chili dogs and cherry limeades. City Council members on Wednesday gave the chain approval to serve alcohol at the restaurant, located at 2425 NE Eighth St. in Homestead.

It's not clear exactly when the restaurant will start serving brewskies and burgundy. Corporate officials said they don't plan on offering alcohol at any other locations, although the Homestead Sonic is one of the chain's first locations in Miami-Dade County.

Since it opened earlier this month, Homestead's Sonic has been different. Sure, there are the typical drive-in stalls and carhops on roller skates that Sonic is known for. But this restaurant also features a beach-themed outdoor seating area with umbrellas and white sand, and the "o" in Sonic's logo is replaced by a red-and-blue beach ball. There are also several flat screen TVs hanging outside.

"We're only planning on doing this in the Miami market, so we thought, "Let's really try to make it something special,'" said Drew Ritger, Sonic's vice president of business analysis and development.

Though the restaurant is known for its drive in, alcohol will only be served on the patio area. Servers will receive special training and quarterly inspections, Johnny Winton, one of the franchise owners, told council members Wednesday night.

"We think its irresponsible to have someone drive up and we hand a beer out the window," Winton said. "That doesn't make sense at all. We're trying to have a family-friendly atmosphere out on that patio."

In Florida, it's illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage in a car, even if it's parked.

Winton, a former Miami city commissioner, was removed from office in 2006 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist after Winton was arrested at Miami International Aiport. Police said Winton had become "loud and abusive" with American Airlines staff after his flight was canceled, then told police "go f--- yourselves" before finally physically striking the arresting officers.

In 2007, Winton agreed to a plea deal that called for charges of felony battery on a police officer to be dropped, and he was convicted only on misdemeanor battery and disorderly intoxication charges. He received two years' probation.

Richard Turner, a spokesman for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, said it isn't such a stretch for a quick-serve establishment such as Sonic's to serve beer and wine. Restaurants featuring speciality burgers and beers are trendy now, he said. And, with a rough economy and stiff competition, restaurants have to try harder than ever to attract diners.

"They're trying so much to stay in business and find new things for customers," Turner said. "What's amazing about the American consumer is their needs are always changing."

The Miami Herald

28 Jun. 2011

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