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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 craft brewery opens in Richmond

Two local entrepreneurs have opened a new craft brewery in Richmond 10 years after they were inspired by an Aussie home brew.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery started brewing its first major batch of ale Wednesday, a Belgian abbey-style blond ale expected to hit some local restaurants and stores in October.

Co-founders Eric McKay and Patrick Murtaugh are hoping to tap into a growing consumer taste for craft beers, a trend that doesn't seem to have been doused by the weak economy.

"We want people to taste a new beer and say, 'I can't believe there is so much flavor in this,' " McKay said. "That is what's so exciting about this."

Hardywood Park Brewery has set up its brewing operations on Ownby Lane in North Richmond. The brewery does not serve beer.

On Wednesday morning, Murtaugh and McKay invited friends and business associates, including representatives from Richmond's Legend Brewing Co. and Brown Distributing Co., to celebrate the brewery's opening by emptying sacks of malt into a mash tun, officially starting production of its first major batch.

Friends since they were boys in Connecticut, McKay and Murtaugh were inspired to become brewers when they visited Australia in 2001.

The Hardywood Park name comes from a sheep station in New South Wales where McKay and Murtaugh first tasted an amber ale home-brewed by the Crawford family that owned the station.

"At the time, it was the most incredible beer I had ever had," McKay said. "It was this moment of epiphany. We decided then, we wanted to have our own brewery someday."

It would take a decade of work in the industry first. "That gave us time to really work and get experience," said Murtaugh, who comes from a long family line of professional beer makers. He studied brewing in Chicago and Munich, earning a master-brewer certification.

McKay worked in sales and marketing for a craft-beer distributor, earned an MBA and founded two social media platforms devoted to beer.

The business partners say now is a great time for specialty beers.

Sales of craft beers in the U.S. rose 12 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, according to the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based industry trade group. That growth has come as overall U.S. beer sales fell 1 percent in 2010.

"The time has definitely come when you have a big enough consumer base, and a growing consumer base," McKay said.

The company's flagship brew, Hardywood Singel, is expected to be available locally in October. The brewery also plans a series of reserve ales, the first being Farmhouse Ale, a seasonal brew spiced with locally grown pumpkins, and cinnamon, brown sugar and ginger supplied locally.

"We will always focus on using local ingredients whenever we can," McKay said.

9 Sep. 2011

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