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.
‘Pretty’ beers for women? A rather tasteless idea
Women are put off buying beer by the sexism of most adverts.
A Mass Observation survey from the 1930s records that women in the north-west town of Bolton weren't allowed to order at the bar of a pub. I had a vision of what these women might have felt like when I attended the launch of Animee on Monday night, a range of three "beers" specifically designed for women.
I was decidedly underwhelmed by the taste. Despite having some pretty pictures of hops on the bottle, if anyone can identify anything even approaching a normal beer flavour in any of these drinks I'll eat my hat. The standard "clear beer" may have a passing resemblance to a weak lager shandy, but the lemon is simply undrinkable and as for the ros? version – pretty in pink it ain't.
If the comments I received on Twitter last night, when I simply posted a picture of the new products saying "Thoughts?", are anything to go by, I'm not alone in my despair at these products either.
Molson Coors, the multinational brewery giants behind "Animee", are not the only ones to target female drinkers recently. Carlsberg also entered the battlefield last year with Eve, a lychee-flavoured beverage "based on malt and rice". So why the mad scramble?
The brewing market faces some major challenges right now, with big brands in decline and fewer people going to pubs. Ironically, at the same time small breweries, which are putting an emphasis on provenance, strong tasting notes and exciting natural flavours, are seeing a sharp growth curve. We now have more breweries in this country than at any other time since the second world war.
Over the past few years the Society for Independent Brewers (Siba) has reported a 7.7% growth in its membership. This marks a stark contrast to the 30% decline in beer sales over the past 30 years, which can nearly all be attributed to the big brands. It's certainly why Molson Coors snapped up Cornwall brewer Sharp's earlier this year and, in a similar move, ABInbev bought Chicago's Goose Island in the States.
But is a range of prettily packaged, flavoured drinks for the "ladeez" the silver bullet to all the woes of the big brewers? No, it simply isn't.
Several pieces of research – ironically including one done by the Molson Coors' "girly arm", BitterSweet Partnership – clearly show that there are several factors that stop women from buying beer: a lack of education, too much gassy rubbish and ugly glassware. Top of the list, however, is that they find the inherent sexism in beer advertising and marketing off-putting – and there's certainly little that says "it's not pink and fruity enough".
In fact, quite the opposite; when Professor Fons Trompenaars, one of Europe's leading market research gurus, investigated this issue last year, he found it was the divide the brewers themselves had created between the sexes that has put women off beer.
What the female market most wants is to be more informed through unisex marketing and education. After years of adverts about groups of lads who can't get into a cosmic nightclub or who shelter their pints in the shade of some Sheila's giant rack is this all too little too late?
Big breweries need to ask themselves why more women don't drink the beers they are already selling – and the answer is that they have busily been disenfranchising women from the beer market for the past 40 years and are now clumsily trying to entice them back. It's the business equivalent of someone breaking up with you horribly at school, only to beg you to come back in your mid-30s.
Before I go I'll leave you with this thought from Molson Coors marketing director Chris McDonough: "It's important when launching a female beer not to be too patronising." Oh, the irony.
20 Jul. 2011