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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.

SABMiller to enter speciality beer market

Global brewing giant SABMiller PLC /quotes/zigman/309144 SBMRY +3.38% said Thursday it will enter the high growth market of specialty beers, where its main competitors Belgian Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI.BT) and Dutch Heineken NV (HEIA.AE) are already active, with a distribution agreement with the Belgian Van Steenberge Brewery.

"As the European market for specialty beers grows around 20%, we will initially introduce the St Stefanus beer on the European market in countries such as France, the UK, Italy and Spain," SABMiller's managing director for Europe, Alan Clark, told Dow Jones Newswires.

SABMiller said, within the terms of the agreement, it will distribute the beer under the Sint Stefanus brand outside Belgium.

The company is not yet active in the specialty beer market, unlike its peer ABInBev which owns Leffe beer or Heineken's Affligem.

"Europeans drink less beer, but indulge themselves more with special, pricier beers, which explains why this is an attractive segment for us" Clark said.

The distribution is not so much aimed at driving SABMiller's European volumes but is seen as a revenue opportunity," said Clark.

"In addition, it will also improve our position in our sales channels as we will be able to offer a broader range of products to specialty liquor stores as well as bars," he added.

The head of SABMiller's European operations declined to comment or provide financial details.

1 Jul. 2011



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